The role of ZA channel water-mediated interactions in the design of bromodomain-selective BET inhibitors.

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TitleThe role of ZA channel water-mediated interactions in the design of bromodomain-selective BET inhibitors.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsBharatham N, Slavish PJ, Young BM, Shelat AA
JournalJ Mol Graph Model
Date Published2018 Mar 22

The Bromodomain and Extra-Terminal domain (BET) family of proteins are involved in the regulation of gene transcription, and their dysregulation is implicated in several diseases including cancer. BET proteins contain two tandem bromodomains (BD1 and BD2) that independently recognize acetylated-lysine residues and appear to have distinct biological roles. We compared several published co-crystal structures and found five positions near the substrate binding pocket that vary between BET bromodomains. One position located in the ZA loop has unique properties. In BRD2-4, this residue is glutamine in BD1 and lysine in BD2; in BRDT, this residue is arginine in BD1 and asparagine in BD2. Using molecular modeling, we identified differences in the water-mediated network at this position between bromodomains. Molecular dynamics simulations helped rationalize the observed bromodomain selectivity for exemplar BET inhibitors and a congeneric series of tetrahydroquinolines (THQ) that differed by a single heteroatom near the ZA channel. The 2-furan SJ830599, the most BD2-selective THQ analog, did not disrupt the water-mediated networks in either domain, but was electrostatically-repulsed by the specific arrangement of the W5 water dipole in BD1. Our work underscores the value of exploring water-mediated interactions to study ligand binding, and highlights the difficulty of optimizing polar interactions due to high desolvation penalties. Finally, we suggest further modifications to THQ-based BET inhibitors that would increase BD2-selectivity in BRD2-4, while minimizing affinity for one or both bromodomains of BRDT.

Alternate JournalJ. Mol. Graph. Model.
PubMed ID29605436