To understand the underlying mechanisms of significant differences in dissociation rate constant among different inhibitors for HIV-1 protease, we performed steered molecular dynamics (SMD) simulations to analyze the entire dissociation processes of inhibitors from the binding pocket of protease at atomistic details. We found that the strength of hydrogen bond network between inhibitor and the protease takes crucial roles in the dissociation process. We showed that the hydrogen bond network in the cyclic urea inhibitors AHA001/XK263 is less stable than that of the approved inhibitor ABT538 because of their large differences in the structures of the networks. In the cyclic urea inhibitor bound complex, the hydrogen bonds often distribute at the flap tips and the active site. In contrast, there are additional accessorial hydrogen bonds formed at the lateral sides of the flaps and the active site in the ABT538 bound complex, which take crucial roles in stabilizing the hydrogen bond network. In addition, the water molecule W301 also plays important roles in stabilizing the hydrogen bond network through its flexible movement by acting as a collision buffer and helping the rebinding of hydrogen bonds at the flap tips. Because of its high stability, the hydrogen bond network of ABT538 complex can work together with the hydrophobic clusters to resist the dissociation, resulting in much lower dissociation rate constant than those of cyclic urea inhibitor complexes. This study may provide useful guidelines for design of novel potent inhibitors with optimized interactions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)