Protein-ligand interactions form the molecular basis of many biological processes. The study of their interactions from a structural perspective can provide not only insights into the molecular recognition between the protein and the ligand but also clues to the design of better ligands that can serve to mediate the biological events. This thesis investigates such interactions for four proteins that are (potential) therapeutic targets. Techniques used in this thesis include molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, saturation transfer difference (STD) NMR spectroscopy, and complete relaxation and conformational exchange matrix (CORCEMA) analysis that calculates theoretical STD effects. MD simulations are employed to study the binding of two designed glycopeptides with SYA/J6, a monoclonal antibody specific for the O-polysaccharide of the Shigella flexneri Y bacterium, as well as the binding dynamics and strengths of a series of inhibitors against human lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA), an enzyme implicated in the cell energy metabolism of various cancers. The computational results from both cases are consistent with experimental data, predicting that neither glycopeptide would bind to SYA/J6, and clarifying ambiguities in the binding modes of two well-known LDHA inhibitors. Furthermore, binding models of two inhibitors against the enzyme UDP-galactopyranose mutase (UGM), a potential target for the treatment of tuberculosis, and two substrates of UDP-N-acetylgalactopyranose mutase (UNGM), a potential target against diarrheal disease, are constructed by a protocol that combines MD, STD NMR, and CORCEMA calculations. The collective results indicate a unique binding mode for a UGM inhibitor and explain the bifunctionality of UNGM.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Leach, Gary W.
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