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Understanding the Polypharmacological Profiles of Triple Reuptake Inhibitors by Molecular Simulation

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journal contribution
posted on 12.05.2021, 12:04 by Gao Tu, Tingting Fu, Fengyuan Yang, Jingyi Yang, Zhao Zhang, Xiaojun Yao, Weiwei Xue, Feng Zhu
The triple reuptake inhibitors (TRIs) class is a class of effective inhibitors of human monoamine transporters (hMATs), which includes dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin transporters (hDATs, hNETs, and hSERTs). Due to the high degree of structural homology of the binding sites of those transporters, it is a great challenge to design potent TRIs with fine-tuned binding profiles. The molecular determinants responsible for the binding selectivity of TRIs to hDATs, hNETs, and hSERTs remain elusive. In this study, the solved X-ray crystallographic structure of hSERT in complex with escitalopram was used as a basis for modeling nine complexes of three representative TRIs (SEP225289, NS2359, and EB1020) bound to their corresponding targets. Molecular dynamics (MD) and effective post-trajectory analysis were performed to estimate the drug binding free energies and characterize the selective profiles of each TRI to hMATs. The common binding mode of studied TRIs to hMATs was revealed by hierarchical clustering analysis of the per-residue energy. Furthermore, the combined protein–ligand interaction fingerprint and residue energy contribution analysis indicated that several conserved and nonconserved “Warm Spots” such as S149, V328, and M427 in hDAT, F317, F323, and V325 in hNET and F335, F341, and V343 in hSERT were responsible for the TRI-binding selectivity. These findings provided important information for rational design of a single drug with better polypharmacological profiles through modulating multiple targets.