Integration of molecular dynamics simulation and hotspot residues grafting for de novo scFv design against Salmonella Typhi TolC protein


Leong SW, Lim TS, Ismail A, Choong YS


With the development of de novo binders for protein targets from non-related scaffolds, many possibilities for therapeutics and diagnostics have been created. In this study, we described the use of de novo design approach to create single-chain fragment variable (scFv) for Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Typhi TolC protein. Typhoid fever is a global health concern in developing and underdeveloped countries. Rapid typhoid diagnostics will improve disease management and therapy. In this work, molecular dynamics simulation was first performed on a homology model of TolC protein in POPE membrane bilayer to obtain the central structure that was subsequently used as the target for scFv design. Potential hotspot residues capable of anchoring the binders to the target were identified by docking “disembodied” amino acid residues against TolC surface. Next, scFv scaffolds were selected from Protein Data Bank to harbor the computed hotspot residues. The hotspot residues were then incorporated into the scFv scaffold complementarity determining regions. The designs recapitulated binding energy, shape complementarity, and interface surface area of natural protein-antibody interfaces. This approach has yielded 5 designs with high binding affinity against TolC that may be beneficial for the future development of antigen-based detection agents for typhoid diagnostics.

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