Main content area

In Silico Study on Retinoid-binding Modes in Human RBP and ApoD Lipocalins

Munussami, Ganapathiraman, Sokalingam, Sriram, Kim, JungRae, Lee, Sun-Gu
Biotechnology and bioprocess engineering 2018 v.23 no.2 pp. 158-167
amino acids, apolipoprotein D, binding capacity, crystal structure, crystallization, engineering, humans, ligands, molecular models, protein engineering, retinoic acid, retinol-binding protein, scaffolding proteins, vitamin A
Lipocalins are proteins with highly homologous structures but diverse sequences that are potential candidates for scaffold protein engineering with novel ligand-binding functions. Numerous crystal structures of lipocalin-ligand complexes have been identified and used in the study of their binding modes. On the other hand, crystallization studies cannot meet the increasing demand for novel lipocalin-ligand complexes in scaffold engineering, which requires rapid computational analyses of their binding modes in parallel. Human retinol-binding protein (RBP) and apolipoprotein D (apoD) are sequentially very distant proteins, but they show tight binding against retinoids, such as retinol and retinoic acid. In the present study, complexes of the two lipocalins with retinol and retinoic acid were modeled computationally by a molecular docking simulation, and their ligand-binding modes were analyzed at a molecular level. The models identified the crucial residues of lipocalins that interact with the ligands and revealed the similarities and differences in their retinoid-binding modes as well as in the specific interactions of the retinoid species within the same lipocalin. An analysis of the amino acid propensity of the retinoid-binding residues suggested that the evolutionary preference of the residues is restricted to the binding pocket rather than the entire protein. The distribution of charged residues around the terminus of retinoic acid showed a huge difference between RBP and ApoD, which might be a factor for the different binding affinities of lipocalins against retinoic acid. This in silico study is expected to be applied to scaffold protein engineering for novel retinoid-binding lipocalins.