An all-atom molecular dynamics study of the anti-interferon signaling of Ebola virus: interaction mechanisms of EBOV VP24 binding to Karyopherin alpha5
Ebola virus (EBOV) is highly lethal due to virally encoded immune antagonists, and the combination of EBOV VP24 with karyopherin alpha (KPNA) will trigger anti-interferon (IFN) signaling. The crystal structure of VP24–KPNA5 has been proposed in recent studies, but the precise binding mechanisms are still unclear. In order to explore the VP24–KPNA5 protein binding micro-mechanisms, Molecular Dynamic (MD) simulations and Molecular Mechanics Generalized Born Surface Area (MM-GB/SA) energy calculation are performed. The obtained results show that EBOV VP24 binding to KPNA5 will rigidify their binding-face, and both proteins will be compacted during binding. According to the analyses of binding free energies of WT and the eight mutant systems, MUT3 makes the most effective contributions to the interaction; additionally MUT4, R398A and the double mutant have the second most effective influence. Hydrogen bond analysis demonstrates that inhibitors which can interfere with the formation of hydrogen bonds D480–T138, E483–R137 and D205–R396 will prevent the anti-IFN effect. Meanwhile, by combining the decomposition of binding free energies (DC) with computational alanine scanning (CAS) results, it is shown that VP24 residues R137 and T138 will be potential targets for EBOV VP24 inhibitors, and KPNA5 residues R396, R398, R480, Y477 and F484 will be potential targets to prevent KPNA5 binding to VP24, which will ultimately block anti-IFN signaling. Our investigations provide theoretical data to understand the binding modes of VP24–KPNA5. The precise binding mechanisms of the complex may shed light on the development of potential novel inhibitors against EBOV infection.