Journal article

The Principles of Ligand Specificity on beta-2-adrenergic receptor

G protein-coupled receptors are recognized as one of the largest families of membrane proteins. Despite sharing a characteristic seven-transmembrane topology, G protein-coupled receptors regulate a wide range of cellular signaling pathways in response to various physical and chemical stimuli, and prevail as an important target for drug discovery. Notably, the recent progress in crystallographic methods led to a breakthrough in elucidating the structures of membrane proteins. The structures of beta(2)-adrenergic receptor bound with a variety of ligands provide atomic details of the binding modes of agonists, antagonists and inverse agonists. In this study, we selected four representative molecules from each functional class of ligands and investigated their impacts on beta(2)-adrenergic receptor through a total of 12 x 100 ns molecular dynamics simulations. From the obtained trajectories, we generated molecular fingerprints exemplifying propensities of protein-ligand interactions. For each functional class of compounds, we characterized and compared the fluctuation of the protein backbone, the volumes in the intracellular pockets, the water densities in the receptors, the domain interaction networks as well as the movements of transmembrane helices. We discovered that each class of ligands exhibits a distinct mode of interactions with mainly TM5 and TM6, altering the shape and eventually the state of the receptor. Our findings provide insightful prospective into GPCR targeted structure-based drug discoveries.


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