Modeling conformational changes in cyclosporin A

Protein Sci. 1995 Oct;4(10):2191-202. doi: 10.1002/pro.5560041025.


NMR and X-ray structures for the immunosuppressant cyclosporin A (CsA) reveal a remarkable difference between the unbound (free) conformation in organic solvents and the conformation bound to cyclophilin. We have performed computer simulations of the molecular dynamics of CsA under a variety of conditions and confirmed the stability of these two conformations at room temperature in water and in vacuum. However, when the free conformation was modeled in vacuum at 600 K, a transition pathway leading to the bound conformation was observed. This involved a change in the cis MeLeu-9 peptide bond to a trans conformation and the movement of the side chains forming the dominant hydrophobic cluster (residues MeBmt-1, MeLeu-4, MeLeu-6, and MeLeu-10) to the opposite side of the plane formed by the backbone atoms in the molecular ring. The final conformation had a backbone RMS deviation from the bound conformation of 0.53 A and was as stable in dynamics simulations as the bound conformation. Our calculations allowed us to make a detailed analysis of a transition pathway between the free and the bound conformations of CsA and to identify two distinct regions of coordinated movement in CsA, both of which underwent transitions independently.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Isomerases / chemistry
  • Amino Acid Isomerases / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Cyclosporine / chemistry*
  • Cyclosporine / metabolism
  • Cyclosporins / chemistry
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptidylprolyl Isomerase
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Thermodynamics


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cyclosporins
  • Cyclosporine
  • Amino Acid Isomerases
  • Peptidylprolyl Isomerase