Apr 1, 2020

Discovery of a hidden transient state in all bromodomain families

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
L. RaichSimon Olsson


Bromodomains (BDs) are small protein modules that interact with acetylated marks in histones. These post-translational modifications are pivotal to regulate gene expression, making BDs promising targets to treat several diseases. While the general structure of BDs is well known, their dynamical features and their interplay with other macromolecules are poorly understood, hampering the rational design of potent and selective inhibitors. Here we combine extensive molecular dynamics simulations, Markov state modeling and structural data to reveal a novel and transiently formed state that is conserved across all BD families. It involves the breaking of two backbone hydrogen bonds that anchor the ZA-loop with the A helix, opening a cryptic pocket that partially occludes the one associated with histone binding. Our results suggest that this novel state is an allosteric regulatory switch for BDs, potentially related to a recently unveiled BD-DNA binding mode.

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