Cys(x)His(y)-Zn2+ interactions: possibilities and limitations of a simple pairwise force field.

Abstract : In zinc proteins, the Zn2+ cation frequently binds with a tetrahedral coordination to cysteine and histidine side chains. We examine the possibilities and limitations of a classical, pairwise force field for molecular dynamics of such systems. Hartree Fock and density functional calculations are used to obtain geometries, charge distributions, and association energies of side chain analogues bound to Zn2+. Both ionized and neutral cysteines are considered. Two parameterizations are obtained, then tested and compared through molecular dynamics simulations of two small, homologous proteins in explicit solvent: Protein Kinase C and the Cysteine Rich Domain (CRD) of Raf, which have two Cys3His-Zn2+ groups each. The lack of explicit polarizability and charge transfer in the force field leads to poor accuracy for the association energies, and to parameters--including the zinc charge, that depend on the number of bound cysteines and their protonation state. Nevertheless, the structures sampled with the best parameterization are in good overall agreement with experiment, and have zinc coordination geometries compatible with related structures in the Cambridge Structural Database and the Protein Data Bank. Non-optimized parameters lead to poorer structures. This suggests that while a simple force field is not appropriate for processes involving exchange between water and amino acids in the zinc coordination sphere (e.g. protein unfolding), it can be useful for equilibrium simulations of stable Cys3His zinc fingers.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 7, 2013 - 1:38:09 PM
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N. Calimet, T. Simonson. Cys(x)His(y)-Zn2+ interactions: possibilities and limitations of a simple pairwise force field.. Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling, Elsevier, 2006, 24 (5), pp.404-11. ⟨10.1016/j.jmgm.2005.10.006⟩. ⟨hal-00770114⟩

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