Dynamically-driven enhancement of the catalytic machinery of the SARS 3C-like protease by the S284-T285-I286/A mutations on the extra domain
Date of Issue2014
School of Biological Sciences
Previously we revealed that the extra domain of SARS 3CLpro mediated the catalysis via different mechanisms. While the R298A mutation completely abolished the dimerization, thus resulting in the inactive catalytic machinery, N214A inactivated the enzyme by altering its dynamics without significantly perturbing its structure. Here we studied another mutant with S284-T285-I286 replaced by Ala (STI/A) with a 3.6-fold activity increase and slightly enhanced dimerization. We determined its crystal structure, which still adopts the dimeric structure almost identical to that of the wild-type (WT), except for slightly tighter packing between two extra-domains. We then conducted 100-ns molecular dynamics (MD) simulations for both STI/A and WT, the longest reported so far for 3CLpro. In the simulations, two STI/A extra domains become further tightly packed, leading to a significant volume reduction of the nano-channel formed by residues from both catalytic and extra domains. The enhanced packing appears to slightly increase the dynamic stability of the N-finger and the first helix residues, which subsequently triggers the redistribution of dynamics over residues directly contacting them. This ultimately enhances the dynamical stability of the residues constituting the catalytic dyad and substrate-binding pockets. Further correlation analysis reveals that a global network of the correlated motions exists in the protease, whose components include all residues identified so far to be critical for the dimerization and catalysis. Most strikingly, the N214A mutation globally decouples this network while the STI/A mutation alters the correlation pattern. Together with previous results, the present study establishes that besides the classic structural allostery, the dynamic allostery also operates in the SARS 3CLpro, which is surprisingly able to relay the perturbations on the extra domain onto the catalytic machinery to manifest opposite catalytic effects. Our results thus imply a promising avenue to design specific inhibitors for 3CL proteases by disrupting their dynamic correlation network.
© 2014 Lim et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.