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Brownian dynamics simulations of the recognition of the scorpion toxin maurotoxin with the voltage-gated potassium ion channels.

Wei Fu, Meng Cui, James M Briggs, Xiaoqin Huang, Bing Xiong, Yingmin Zhang, Xiaomin Luo, Jianhua Shen, Ruyun Ji, Hualiang Jiang, Kaixian Chen

Biophys. J., 2002 Nov , 83, 2370-85

The recognition of the scorpion toxin maurotoxin (MTX) by the voltage-gated potassium (Kv1) channels, Kv1.1, Kv1.2, and Kv1.3, has been studied by means of Brownian dynamics (BD) simulations. All of the 35 available structures of MTX in the Protein Data Bank ( determined by nuclear magnetic resonance were considered during the simulations, which indicated that the conformation of MTX significantly affected both the recognition and the binding between MTX and the Kv1 channels. Comparing the top five highest-frequency structures of MTX binding to the Kv1 channels, we found that the Kv1.2 channel, with the highest docking frequencies and the lowest electrostatic interaction energies, was the most favorable for MTX binding, whereas Kv1.1 was intermediate, and Kv1.3 was the least favorable one. Among the 35 structures of MTX, the 10th structure docked into the binding site of the Kv1.2 channel with the highest probability and the most favorable electrostatic interactions. From the MTX-Kv1.2 binding model, we identified the critical residues for the recognition of these two proteins through triplet contact analyses. MTX locates around the extracellular mouth of the Kv1 channels, making contacts with its beta-sheets. Lys23, a conserved amino acid in the scorpion toxins, protrudes into the pore of the Kv1.2 channel and forms two hydrogen bonds with the conserved residues Gly401(D) and Tyr400(C) and one hydrophobic contact with Gly401(C) of the Kv1.2 channel. The critical triplet contacts for recognition between MTX and the Kv1.2 channel are Lys23(MTX)-Asp402(C)(Kv1), Lys27(MTX)-Asp378(D)(Kv1), and Lys30(MTX)-Asp402(A)(Kv1). In addition, six hydrogen-bonding interactions are formed between residues Lys23, Lys27, Lys30, and Tyr32 of MTX and residues Gly401, Tyr400, Asp402, Asp378, and Thr406 of Kv1.2. Many of them are formed by side chains of residues of MTX and backbone atoms of the Kv1.2 channel. Five hydrophobic contacts exist between residues Pro20, Lys23, Lys30 and Tyr32 of MTX and residues Asp402, Val404, Gly401, and Arg377 of the Kv1.2 channel. The simulation results are in agreement with the previous molecular biology experiments and explain the binding phenomena between MTX and Kv1 channels at the molecular level. The consistency between the results of the BD simulations and the experimental data indicated that our three-dimensional model of the MTX-Kv1.2 channel complex is reasonable and can be used in additional biological studies, such as rational design of novel therapeutic agents blocking the voltage-gated channels and in mutagenesis studies in both the toxins and the Kv1 channels. In particular, both the BD simulations and the molecular mechanics refinements indicate that residue Asp378 of the Kv1.2 channel is critical for its recognition and binding functionality toward MTX. This phenomenon has not been appreciated in the previous mutagenesis experiments, indicating this might be a new clue for additional functional study of Kv1 channels.