Effect of Y220C mutation on p53 and its rescue mechanism: a computer chemistry approach

Protein J. 2013 Jan;32(1):68-74. doi: 10.1007/s10930-012-9458-x.


Mutation causes inactivation of 'p53' tumor suppressor protein in almost fifty percent of cancers in humans. Outside the DNA-binding surface of p53, Y220C is the most common cancerous mutation. Previous studies have shown that a surface cavity is created by this mutation which destabilizes p53. PhiKan083, a carbazole derivative capable of binding with that cavity, and slows down its thermal denaturation rate. We investigated, theoretically, on mechanisms of structural stability loss due to Y220C mutation and mechanisms of stability restoration by PhiKan083 at the atomic level. From this study it is found that in Tp53C, Tyr220 has five electrostatic interactions with residues Val 147, Prol51, Pro153 and Pro223 located on S3/S4 loop and S7/S8 loop. The S7/S8 loop is stabilized by these electrostatic interactions. Due to the Y220C mutation all these electrostatic interactions are lost. As a result the structural fluctuation occurs at S7/S8 loop, and the loop is displaced from its original position after 6 ns MD simulation. When PhiKan083 is present (inserted) at the mutation site it provides five electrostatic interactions with Pro155, Glu221 and Thr230, and two hydrogen bonds with Leu145 and Asp228, respectively. These interactions provided by Pkikan083 stabilized the S7/S8 loop, and as a result it couldn't be displaced. Our results showed that due to Y220C mutation p53 became destabilized through structural fluctuations surrounding the mutation site. When PhiKan083 is present at the Y220C mutation site (in 2vuk), it provides electrostatic and hydrogen bonding interactions among residue-220, its neighboring residues and PhiKan08. These interactions give additional stability to Y220C mutant p53, thus Y220C mutant p53 doesn't destabilize.

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutation, Missense*
  • Protein Stability
  • Static Electricity
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / chemistry*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics*


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53