Computational analysis of the structural mechanism of inhibition of chemokine receptor CXCR4 by small molecule antagonists.

Research paper by Sameer P SP Kawatkar, Maocai M Yan, Harsukh H Gevariya, Mi Youn MY Lim, Steven S Eisold, Xuejun X Zhu, Ziwei Z Huang, Jing J An

Indexed on: 24 Jun '11Published on: 24 Jun '11Published in: Experimental biology and medicine (Maywood, N.J.)


Understanding the structural mechanism of receptor-ligand interactions for the chemokine receptor CXCR4 is essential for determining its physiological and pathological functions and for developing new therapies targeted to CXCR4. We have recently reported a structural mechanism for CXCR4 antagonism by a novel synthetic CXCR4 antagonist RCP168 and compared its effectiveness against the natural agonist SDF-1α. In the present study, using molecular docking, we further investigate the binding modes of another seven small molecules known to act as CXCR4 antagonists. The predicted binding modes were compared with previously published mutagenesis data for two of these (AMD3100 and AMD11070). Four antagonists, including AMD3100, AMD11070, FC131 and KRH-1636, bound in a similar fashion to CXCR4. Two important acidic amino acid residues (Asp262 and Glu288) on CXCR4, previously found essential for AMD3100 binding, were also involved in binding of the other ligands. These four antagonists use a binding site in common with that used by RCP168, which is a novel synthetic derivative of vMIP-II in which the first 10 residues are replaced by D-amino acids. Comparison of binding modes suggested that this binding site is different from the binding region occupied by the N-terminus of SDF-1α, the only known natural ligand of CXCR4. These observations suggest the presence of a ligand-binding site (site A) that co-exists with the agonist (SDF-1α) binding site (site B). The other three antagonists, including MSX123, MSX202 and WZ811, are smaller in size and had very similar binding poses, but binding was quite different from that of AMD3100. These three antagonists bound at both sites A and B, thereby blocking both binding and signaling by SDF-1α.

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