Structure prediction and molecular dynamics simulations of a G-protein coupled receptor: human CCR2 receptor
CC chemokine receptor type-2 (CCR2) is a member of G-protein coupled receptors superfamily, expressed on the cell surface of monocytes and macrophages. It binds to the monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, a CC chemokine, produced at the sites of inflammation and infection. A homology model of human CCR2 receptor based on the recently available C-X-C chemokine recepor-4 crystal structure has been reported. Ligand information was used as an essential element in the homology modeling process. Six known CCR2 antagonists were docked into the model using simple and induced fit docking procedure. Docked complexes were then subjected to visual inspection to check their suitability to explain the experimental data obtained from site directed mutagenesis and structure-activity relationship studies. The homology model was refined, validated, and assessed for its performance in docking-based virtual screening on a set of CCR2 antagonists and decoys. The docked complexes of CCR2 with the known antagonists, TAK779, a dual CCR2/CCR5 antagonist, and Teijin-comp1, a CCR2 specific antagonist were subjected to molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, which further validated the binding modes of these antagonists. B-factor analysis of 20 ns MD simulations demonstrated that Cys190 is helpful in providing structural rigidity to the extracellular loop (EL2). Residues important for CCR2 antagonism were recognized using free energy decomposition studies. The acidic residue Glu291 from TM7, a conserved residue in chemokine receptors, is favorable for the binding of Teijin-comp1 with CCR2 by ΔG of −11.4 kcal/mol. Its contribution arises more from the side chains than the backbone atoms. In addition, Tyr193 from EL2 contributes −0.9 kcal/mol towards the binding of the CCR2 specific antagonist with the receptor. Here, the homology modeling and subsequent molecular modeling studies proved successful in probing the structure of human CCR2 chemokine receptor for the structure-based virtual screening and predicting the binding modes of CCR2 antagonists.