Computational insights into the inhibitory mechanism of human AKT1 by an orally active inhibitor, MK-2206

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 17;9(10):e109705. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109705. eCollection 2014.


The AKT signaling pathway has been identified as an important target for cancer therapy. Among small-molecule inhibitors of AKT that have shown tremendous potential in inhibiting cancer, MK-2206 is a highly potent, selective and orally active allosteric inhibitor. Promising preclinical anticancer results have led to entry of MK-2206 into Phase I/II clinical trials. Despite such importance, the exact binding mechanism and the molecular interactions of MK-2206 with human AKT are not available. The current study investigated the exact binding mode and the molecular interactions of MK-2206 with human AKT isoforms using molecular docking and (un)binding simulation analyses. The study also involved the docking analyses of the structural analogs of MK-2206 to AKT1 and proposed one as better inhibitor. The Dock was used for docking simulations of MK-2206 into the allosteric site of AKT isoforms. The Ligplot+ was used for analyses of polar and hydrophobic interactions between AKT isoforms and the ligands. The MoMa-LigPath web server was used to simulate the ligand (un)binding from the binding site to the surface of the protein. In the docking and (un)binding simulation analyses of MK-2206 with human AKT1, the Trp-80 was the key residue and showed highest decrease in the solvent accessibility, highest number of hydrophobic interactions, and the most consistent involvement in all (un)binding simulation phases. The number of molecular interactions identified and calculated binding energies and dissociation constants from the co-complex structures of these isoforms, clearly explained the varying affinity of MK-2206 towards these isoforms. The (un)binding simulation analyses identified various additional residues which despite being away from the binding site, play important role in initial binding of the ligand. Thus, the docking and (un)binding simulation analyses of MK-2206 with AKT isoforms and its structure analogs will provide a suitable model for studying drug-protein interaction and will help in designing better drugs.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Binding Sites
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Docking Simulation*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Isoforms / chemistry
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / chemistry*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 3-Ring
  • MK 2206
  • Protein Isoforms
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt

Grant support

The authors have no funding or support to report.