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Article Dans Une Revue Journal of Physical Chemistry B Année : 2018

On the Binding Free Energy and Molecular Origin of Sickle Cell Hemoglobin Aggregation


Protein aggregation is associated with various diseases, including Alzheimer and Parkinson as well as sickle cell disease (SCD). From a molecular point of view, protein aggregation depends on a complex balance of electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions mediated by water. An impressive manifestation of the importance of this balance concerns the human hemoglobin (HbA) mutant, HbS (sickle cell Hb), where a single substitution at the 6th position of HbA β-chains, from glutamic acid to valine, causes the polymerization of deoxygenated HbS (deoxy-HbS), responsible for SCD. HbS polymerization is believed to occur via a double nucleation mechanism initiated by the formation of HbS fibers (homogeneous nucleation), followed by fiber growth. Furthermore, it was proposed that homogeneous nucleation proceeds through a two-step mechanism, where metastable dense clusters play the role of nucleation precursors. Thus, hindering or delaying the formation of such precursors could represent a potential SCD therapeutic route. Here, we study, through molecular dynamics, the binding free energy and protein–protein contacts involved in the deoxy-HbS dimer aggregation and stabilization process. A binding free energy of ∼−14.0 ± 1 kcal/mol is estimated from a one-dimensional potential of mean force. Analysis of protein–protein interactions shows that both electrostatic and van der Waals interactions play an important role on the aggregation of HbS. With respect to the former, our results indicate that aggregation is largely favored by the formation of salt bridges (SB), mostly, Lys–Glu, Lys–Asp, and Heme-Lys SB, which outweigh electrostatic repulsions involving similar residues. Thus, our results suggest that a potential antisickling drug could be one with the ability to weaken or hinder the formation of a few SB between carboxylate and ammonium groups.
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Dates et versions

hal-03173347 , version 1 (18-03-2021)



N. Galamba, Silvio Pipolo. On the Binding Free Energy and Molecular Origin of Sickle Cell Hemoglobin Aggregation. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 2018, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 122 (30), pp.7475-7483. ⟨10.1021/acs.jpcb.8b03708⟩. ⟨hal-03173347⟩
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