We have investigated covalent conjugation of VPPPVPPRRRX' peptide (where X' denotes N ε-chloroacetyl lysine) to N-terminal SH3 domain from adapter protein Grb2. Our experimental results confirmed that the peptide first binds to the SH3 domain noncovalently before establishing a covalent linkage through reaction of X' with the target cysteine residue C32. We have also confirmed that this reaction involves a thiolate-anion form of C32 and follows the S N2 mechanism. For this system, we have developed a new MD-based protocol to model the formation of covalent conjugate. The simulation starts with the known coordinates of the noncovalent complex. When two reactive groups come into contact during the course of the simulation, the reaction is initiated. The reaction is modeled via gradual interpolation between the two sets of force field parameters that are representative of the noncovalent and covalent complexes. The simulation proceeds smoothly, with no appreciable perturbations to temperature, pressure or volume, and results in a high-quality MD model of the covalent complex. The validity of this model is confirmed using the experimental chemical shift data. The new MD-based approach offers a valuable tool to explore the mechanics of protein-peptide conjugation and build accurate models of covalent complexes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20219
Number of pages18
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 27 Dec 2019

ID: 49384395