Indexed on: 11 Jul '08Published on: 11 Jul '08Published in: Journal of Computational Chemistry
Tetracyclines (Tcs) are an important family of antibiotics that bind to the ribosome and several proteins. To model Tc interactions with protein and RNA, we have developed a molecular mechanics force field for 12 tetracyclines, consistent with the CHARMM force field. We considered each Tc variant in its zwitterionic tautomer, with and without a bound Mg(2+). We used structures from the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Base to identify the conformations likely to be present in solution and in biomolecular complexes. A conformational search by simulated annealing was undertaken, using the MM3 force field, for tetracycline, anhydrotetracycline, doxycycline, and tigecycline. Resulting, low-energy structures were optimized with an ab initio method. We found that Tc and its analogs all adopt an extended conformation in the zwitterionic tautomer and a twisted one in the neutral tautomer, and the zwitterionic-extended state is the most stable in solution. Intermolecular force field parameters were derived from a standard supermolecule approach: we considered the ab initio energies and geometries of a water molecule interacting with each Tc analog at several different positions. The final, rms deviation between the ab initio and force field energies, averaged over all forms, was 0.35 kcal/mol. Intramolecular parameters were adopted from either the standard CHARMM force field, the ab initio structure, or the earlier, plain Tc force field. The model reproduces the ab initio geometry and flexibility of each Tc. As tests, we describe MD and free energy simulations of a solvated complex between three Tcs and the Tet repressor protein.