Mechanism of the Early Catalytic Events in the Collagenolysis by Matrix Metalloproteinase-1

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Department of Chemistry; Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology


Metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) catalyzed collagen degradation is essential for a wide variety of normal physiological processes, while at the same time contributing to several diseases in humans. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of this process is of great importance. Although crystallographic and spectroscopic studies provided fundamental information about the structure and function of MMP-1, the precise mechanism of collagen degradation especially considering the complex and flexible structure of the substrate, remains poorly understood. In addition, how the protein environment dynamically reorganizes at the atomic scale into a catalytically active state capable of collagen hydrolysis remains unknown. In this study, we applied experimentally-guided multiscale molecular modeling methods including classical molecular dynamics (MD), well-tempered (WT) classical metadynamics (MetD), combined quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) MD and QM/MM MetD simulations to explore and characterize the early catalytic events of MMP-1 collagenolysis. Importantly the study provided a complete atomic and dynamic description of the transition from the open to the closed form of the MMP-1•THP complex. Notably, the formation of catalytically active Michaelis complex competent for collagen cleavage was characterized. The study identified the changes in the coordination state of the catalytic zinc(II) associated with the conformational transformation and the formation of catalytically productive ES complex. Our results confirm the essential role of the MMP-1 catalytic domain's α-helices (hA, hB and hC) and the linker region in the transition to the catalytically competent ES complex. Overall, the results provide unique mechanistic insight into the conformational transformations and associated changes in the coordination state of the catalytic zinc(II) that would be important for the design of effective MMP-1 inhibitors.

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