Targeted molecular dynamics reveals overall common conformational changes upon hybrid domain swing-out in beta3 integrins

Proteins. 2009 Nov 1;77(2):477-89. doi: 10.1002/prot.22463.


The beta3 integrin family members alphaIIbeta3 and alphaVbeta3 signal bidirectionally through long-range allosteric changes, including a transition from a bent unliganded-closed low-affinity state to an extended liganded-open high-affinity state. To obtain an atomic-level description of this transition in an explicit solvent, we carried out targeted molecular dynamics simulations of the headpieces of alphaIIbeta3 and alphaVbeta3 integrins. Although minor differences were observed between these receptors, our results suggest a common transition pathway in which the hybrid domain swing-out is accompanied by conformational changes within the beta3 betaA (I-like) domain that propagate through the alpha7 helix C-terminus, and are followed by the alpha7 helix downward motion and the opening of the beta6-alpha7 loop. Breaking of contact interactions between the beta6-alpha7 loop and the alpha1 helix N-terminus results in helix straightening, internal rearrangements of the specificity determining loop (SDL), movement of the beta1-alpha1 loop toward the metal ion dependent adhesion site (MIDAS), and final changes at the interfaces between the beta3 betaA (I-like) domain and either the hybrid or the alpha beta-propeller domains. Taken together, our results suggest novel testable hypotheses of intradomain and interdomain interactions responsible for beta3 integrin activation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation*
  • Integrin beta3 / chemistry
  • Integrin beta3 / metabolism*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Software


  • Integrin beta3