Free energy simulations of a GTPase: GTP and GDP binding to archaeal initiation factor 2.

Abstract : Archaeal initiation factor 2 (aIF2) is a protein involved in the initiation of protein biosynthesis. In its GTP-bound, "ON" conformation, aIF2 binds an initiator tRNA and carries it to the ribosome. In its GDP-bound, "OFF" conformation, it dissociates from tRNA. To understand the specific binding of GTP and GDP and its dependence on the ON or OFF conformational state of aIF2, molecular dynamics free energy simulations (MDFE) are a tool of choice. However, the validity of the computed free energies depends on the simulation model, including the force field and the boundary conditions, and on the extent of conformational sampling in the simulations. aIF2 and other GTPases present specific difficulties; in particular, the nucleotide ligand coordinates a divalent Mg(2+) ion, which can polarize the electronic distribution of its environment. Thus, a force field with an explicit treatment of electronic polarizability could be necessary, rather than a simpler, fixed charge force field. Here, we begin by comparing a fixed charge force field to quantum chemical calculations and experiment for Mg(2+):phosphate binding in solution, with the force field giving large errors. Next, we consider GTP and GDP bound to aIF2 and we compare two fixed charge force fields to the recent, polarizable, AMOEBA force field, extended here in a simple, approximate manner to include GTP. We focus on a quantity that approximates the free energy to change GTP into GDP. Despite the errors seen for Mg(2+):phosphate binding in solution, we observe a substantial cancellation of errors when we compare the free energy change in the protein to that in solution, or when we compare the protein ON and OFF states. Finally, we have used the fixed charge force field to perform MDFE simulations and alchemically transform GTP into GDP in the protein and in solution. With a total of about 200 ns of molecular dynamics, we obtain good convergence and a reasonable statistical uncertainty, comparable to the force field uncertainty, and somewhat lower than the predicted GTP/GDP binding free energy differences. The sign and magnitudes of the differences can thus be interpreted at a semiquantitative level, and are found to be consistent with the experimental binding preferences of ON- and OFF-aIF2.
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Submitted on : Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 3:06:36 PM
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Priyadarshi Satpati, Carine Clavaguera, Gilles Ohanessian, Thomas Simonson. Free energy simulations of a GTPase: GTP and GDP binding to archaeal initiation factor 2.. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, American Chemical Society, 2011, 115 (20), pp.6749-63. ⟨10.1021/jp201934p⟩. ⟨hal-00764855⟩

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