Exploring the selectivity of a ligand complex with CDK2/CDK1: a molecular dynamics simulation approach
Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are core components of the cell cycle machinery that govern the transition between phases during cell cycle progression. Abnormalities in CDKs activity and regulation are common features of cancer, making CDK family members attractive targets for the development of anticancer drugs. Their inhibitors have entered in clinical trials to treat cancer. Very recently, Heathcote et al. (J. Med. Chem. 2010, 53:8508–8522) have found a ligand BS194 that has a high affinity with CDK2 (IC50 = 3 nm) but shows low affinity with CDK1 (IC50 = 30 nm). To understand the selectivity, we used homology modeling, molecular docking, molecular dynamics, and free-energy calculation to analyze the interactions. A rational three-dimensional model of the CDK1/BS194 complex is built. We found that Leu83 is a key residue that recognizes BS194 more effectively with CDK2 with good binding free energies rather than CDK1. Energetic analysis reveals that van der Waals interaction and non-polar contributions to solvent are favorable in the formation of complexes and amine group of the ligand, which plays a crucial role for binding selectivity between CDK2 and CDK1. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.