Conformational analysis of compstatin analogues with molecular dynamics simulations in explicit water

J Mol Graph Model. 2007 Sep;26(2):571-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jmgm.2007.03.014. Epub 2007 Apr 4.


The cyclic 13-residue peptide compstatin is a potential therapeutic agent against the unregulated activation of the complement system. A thorough knowledge of its structural and dynamical properties in solution may assist the design of improved complement inhibitors. NMR studies have suggested that the 5-8 segment of free compstatin folds into a critical for activity 5-8 beta turn and the rest of the peptide is mainly disordered. Earlier computational studies of compstatin analogues with a polar-hydrogen/generalized-Born approximation reproduced the 5-8 turn, but also indicated the formation of beta-hairpin or alpha-helical elements and the existence of interactions between certain charged or aromatic sidechains. However, these features are absent or partly present in the NMR spectra, due to extensive conformational averaging. In order to check the compstatin properties with a more rigorous model of the intra- and intermolecular interactions, we conduct here 98-ns all-atom/explicit-water simulations of three compstatin analogues with variable activity; a native analogue, the more active mutant V4W/H9A and the inactive mutant Q5G. The 5-8 beta-turn population is in good accord with NMR. For the systems studied here, the simulations suggest that the 5-8 turn population does not correlate strictly with activity, in agreement with earlier mutational studies. Furthermore, they show structural differences among the analogues outside the 5-8 region. The possible role of these differences in activity is discussed. The probability of beta-hairpin or alpha-helix elements is much smaller with respect to the polar-hydrogen/GB simulations, and the persistent Trp4-Trp7 or Asp6-Arg11 sidechain interactions of the earlier GB studies are not reproduced. The present simulations extend the NMR data and improve our understanding of the properties of compstatin and related analogues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cluster Analysis
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Peptides, Cyclic / chemistry*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • compstatin
  • Water