Dissecting Orthosteric Contacts for a Reverse-Fragment-Based Ligand Design

Arun Chandramohan, Nikhil K. Tulsian, Ganesh S. Anand

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6 Scopus citations


Orthosteric sites on proteins are formed typically from noncontiguous interacting sites in three-dimensional space where the composite binding interaction of a biological ligand is mediated by multiple synergistic interactions of its constituent functional groups. Through these multiple interactions, ligands stabilize both the ligand binding site and the local secondary structure. However, relative energetic contributions of the individual contacts in these protein-ligand interactions are difficult to resolve. Deconvolution of the contributions of these various functional groups in natural inhibitors/ligand would greatly aid in iterative fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD). In this study, we describe an approach of progressive unfolding of a target protein using a gradient of denaturant urea to reveal the individual energetic contributions of various ligand-functional groups to the affinity of the entire ligand. Through calibrated unfolding of two protein-ligand systems: cAMP-bound regulatory subunit of Protein Kinase A (RIα) and IBMX-bound phosphodiesterase8 (PDE8), monitored by amide hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry, we show progressive disruption of individual orthosteric contacts in the ligand binding sites, allowing us to rank the energetic contributions of these individual interactions. In the two cAMP-binding sites of RIα, exocyclic phosphate oxygens of cAMP were identified to mediate stronger interactions than ribose 2′-OH in both the RIα-cAMP binding interfaces. Further, we have also ranked the relative contributions of the different functional groups of IBMX based on their interactions with the orthosteric residues of PDE8. This strategy for deconstruction of individual binding sites and identification of the strongest functional group interaction in enzyme orthosteric sites offers a rational starting point for FBDD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7876-7885
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry


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