Millisecond dynamics of BTK reveal kinome-wide conformational plasticity within the apo kinase domain

Sci Rep. 2017 Nov 15;7(1):15604. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-10697-0.


Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) is a key enzyme in B-cell development whose improper regulation causes severe immunodeficiency diseases. Design of selective BTK therapeutics would benefit from improved, in-silico structural modeling of the kinase's solution ensemble. However, this remains challenging due to the immense computational cost of sampling events on biological timescales. In this work, we combine multi-millisecond molecular dynamics (MD) simulations with Markov state models (MSMs) to report on the thermodynamics, kinetics, and accessible states of BTK's kinase domain. Our conformational landscape links the active state to several inactive states, connected via a structurally diverse intermediate. Our calculations predict a kinome-wide conformational plasticity, and indicate the presence of several new potentially druggable BTK states. We further find that the population of these states and the kinetics of their inter-conversion are modulated by protonation of an aspartate residue, establishing the power of MD & MSMs in predicting effects of chemical perturbations.

MeSH terms

  • Agammaglobulinaemia Tyrosine Kinase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Agammaglobulinaemia Tyrosine Kinase / chemistry*
  • B-Lymphocytes / chemistry
  • B-Lymphocytes / enzymology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Markov Chains
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation*
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Thermodynamics


  • Agammaglobulinaemia Tyrosine Kinase