We investigate the binding mechanism in renin complexes, involving three drugs (remikiren, zankiren and enalkiren) and one lead compound, which was selected after screening the ZINC database. For this purpose, we used ab initio methods (the effective fragment potential, the variational perturbation theory, the energy decomposition analysis, the atoms-in-molecules), docking, molecular dynamics, and the MM-PBSA method. A biological assay for the lead compound has been performed to validate the theoretical findings. Importantly, binding free energy calculations for the three drug complexes are within 3 kcal/mol of the experimental values, thus further justifying our computational protocol, which has been validated through previous studies on 11 drug-protein systems. The main elements of the discovered mechanism are: (i) minor changes are induced to renin upon drug binding, (ii) the three drugs form an extensive network of hydrogen bonds with renin, whilst the lead compound presented diminished interactions, (iii) ligand binding in all complexes is driven by favorable van der Waals interactions and the nonpolar contribution to solvation, while the lead compound is associated with diminished van der Waals interactions compared to the drug-bound forms of renin, and (iv) the environment (H2O/Na+) has a small effect on the renin–remikiren interaction.
Elucidation of the Biding Mechanism of Renin using a Wide Array of Computational Techniques and Biological Assays
Haralambos Tzoupis, Georgios Leonis, Aggelos Avramopoulos, Heribert Reisa, Żaneta Czyżnikowska, Sofia Zerva, Niki Vergadou, Loukas D. Peristeras, Konstantinos D. Papavasileiou, Michael N. Alexis, Thomas Mavromoustakos, Manthos G. Papadopoulos,
Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling. Volume 62, November 2015, Pages 138–149