Investigation of the influence of external factors on the conformational dynamics of rhodopsin-like receptors by means of molecular dynamics simulation

J Recept Signal Transduct Res. 2014 Apr;34(2):104-18. doi: 10.3109/10799893.2013.863918. Epub 2014 Feb 4.


The study reports about the influence of binding of orthosteric ligands on the conformational dynamics of β-2-adrenoreceptor. Using molecular dynamics (MD) simulation, we found that there was a little fraction of active states of the receptor in its apo (ligand-free) ensemble. Analysis of MD trajectories indicated that such spontaneous activation of the receptor is accompanied by the motion in intracellular part of its alpha-helices. Thus, receptor's constitutive activity directly results from its conformational dynamics. On the other hand, the binding of a full agonist resulted in a significant shift of the initial equilibrium towards its active state. Finally, the binding of the inverse agonist stabilized the receptor in its inactive state. It is likely that the binding of inverse agonists might be a universal way of constitutive activity inhibition in vivo. Our results indicate that ligand binding redistribute pre-existing conformational degrees of freedom (in accordance to the Monod-Wyman-Changeux Model) of the receptor rather than cause induced fit in it. Therefore, the ensemble of biologically relevant receptor conformations is encoded in its spatial structure, and individual conformations from that ensemble might be used by the cell in conformity with the physiological behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-2 / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-2 / genetics
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-2 / metabolism
  • Rhodopsin / chemistry
  • Rhodopsin / metabolism*


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-2
  • Rhodopsin