Docking of Verapamil in a Synthetic Ca2+Channel: Formation of a Ternary Complex Involving Ca2+Ions
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The mechanism by which diverse drugs modulate voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels is ill-understood. We have approached this problem by examining the interaction of verapamil with a 97-residue synthetic channel peptide (SCP) that exhibits functional similarities to authentic L-type Ca2+ channels in terms of cation selectivity and permeation as well as interaction with channel-activating and blocking drugs (Grove et al. (1991) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88, 6418). Different possibilities of binding of verapamil inside the Ca(2+)-bound SCP were simulated using the Monte Carlo-with-energy-minimization method. In the optimal mode of the binding, verapamil adopted a folded conformation and fit snugly in the pore. The dimethoxyphenyl groups of the drug interacted with two Ca2+ ions coordinated to the acidic residues of SCP, thus forming a ternary complex of the drug, Ca2+, and channel. The isopropyl group of verapamil abetted a ring of four Ile residues constituting the putative SCP gate. The occlusion of this gate by verapamil in this manner was strikingly similar to that accomplished by the methyl group of dihydropyridine drugs. In conjunction with an earlier study on SCP bound to dihydropyridine drugs (Zhorov and Ananthanarayanan (1996) Biophys. J. 70, 22), our data suggest that, in general, drug modulation of SCP would involve the interaction of the ligands with the pore-bound Ca2+ and with the hydrophobic gate. In light of the functional similarity between SCP and L-type Ca2+ channel, it is likely that the latter would also interact with drugs in a similar fashion.
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