Selective Inhibition of HDAC1 by Macrocyclic Polypeptide for the Treatment of Glioblastoma: A Binding Mechanistic Analysis Based on Molecular Dynamics

Front Mol Biosci. 2020 Mar 11;7:41. doi: 10.3389/fmolb.2020.00041. eCollection 2020.


Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and aggressive intracranial malignant brain tumor, and the abnormal expression of HDAC1 is closely correlated to the progression, recurrence and metastasis of GBM cells, making selective inhibition of HDAC1 a promising strategy for GBM treatments. Among all available selective HDAC1 inhibitors, the macrocyclic peptides have gained great attention due to their remarkable inhibitory selectivity on HDAC1. However, the binding mechanism underlying this selectivity is still elusive, which increases the difficulty of designing and synthesizing the macrocyclic peptide-based anti-GBM drug. Herein, multiple computational approaches were employed to explore the binding behaviors of a typical macrocyclic peptide FK228 in both HDAC1 and HDAC6. Starting from the docking conformations of FK228 in the binding pockets of HDAC1&6, relatively long MD simulation (500 ns) shown that the hydrophobic interaction and hydrogen bonding of E91 and D92 in the Loop2 of HDAC1 with the Cap had a certain traction effect on FK228, and the sub-pocket formed by Loop1 and Loop2 in HDAC1 could better accommodate the Cap group, which had a positive effect on maintaining the active conformation of FK228. While the weakening of the interactions between FK228 and the residues in the Loop2 of HDAC6 during the MD simulation led to the large deflection of FK228 in the binding site, which also resulted in the decrease in the interactions between the Linker region of FK228 and the previously identified key amino acids (H134, F143, H174, and F203). Therefore, the residues located in Loop1 and Loop2 contributed in maintaining the active conformation of FK228, which would provide valuable hints for the discovery and design of novel macrocyclic polypeptide HDAC inhibitors.

Keywords: HDAC; MD simulation; binding free energies; interaction fingerprints; macrocyclic peptides; molecular docking.