Jump to main content
Jump to site search


Ligand design by targeting a binding site water

Author affiliations

Abstract

Solvent reorganization is a major driving force of protein–ligand association, but the contribution of binding site waters to ligand affinity is poorly understood. We investigated how altered interactions with a water network can influence ligand binding to a receptor. A series of ligands of the A2A adenosine receptor, which either interacted with or displaced an ordered binding site water, were studied experimentally and by molecular dynamics simulations. An analog of the endogenous ligand that was unable to hydrogen bond to the ordered water lost affinity and this activity cliff was captured by molecular dynamics simulations. Two compounds designed to displace the ordered water from the binding site were then synthesized and evaluated experimentally, leading to the discovery of an A2A agonist with nanomolar activity. Calculation of the thermodynamic profiles resulting from introducing substituents that interacted with or displaced the ordered water showed that the gain of binding affinity was enthalpy driven. Detailed analysis of the energetics and binding site hydration networks revealed that the enthalpy change was governed by contributions that are commonly neglected in structure-based drug optimization. In particular, simulations suggested that displacement of water from a binding site to the bulk solvent can lead to large energy contributions. Our findings provide insights into the molecular driving forces of protein–ligand binding and strategies for rational drug design.

Graphical abstract: Ligand design by targeting a binding site water

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
07 Sep 2020
Accepted
13 Oct 2020
First published
19 Nov 2020

This article is Open Access
All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chem. Sci., 2021, Advance Article
Article type
Edge Article

Ligand design by targeting a binding site water

P. Matricon, R. R. Suresh, Z. Gao, N. Panel, K. A. Jacobson and J. Carlsson, Chem. Sci., 2021, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0SC04938G

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material.

Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

  • For reproduction of material from NJC:
    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
  • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
    [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
  • For reproduction of material from PPS:
    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
  • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.


Social activity

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements