Source:The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 113:253-8, 2009
We employ a new computational tool CCOMP for the comparison of side chain (SC) conformations between crystal structures of homologous protein complexes. The program is applied to the vitamin D receptor (VDR) liganded with 1alpha,25-(OH)(2)D(3) (in 1DB1) or its 20-epi (in 1IE9) analog with an inverted C-20 configuration. This modification yields no detectable changes in the backbone configuration or ligand topology in the receptor binding cavity, yet it dramatically increases transcription, differentiation and antiproliferation activity of the VDR. We applied very stringent criteria during the comparison process. To eliminate errors arising from the different packing of investigated crystals and the thermal flexibility of atoms, we studied complexes belonging to the same space group, having a low R value (0.2) and a B-factor below 40 for compared residues. We find that 20-epi-1alpha,25-(OH)(2)D(3) changes side chain conformation of amino acids residing far away from direct ligand-VDR contacts. We further verify that a number of the reoriented residues were identified in mutational experiments as important for interaction with SRC-1, GRIP, TAFs co-activators and VDR-RXR heterodimerization. Thus, CCOMP analysis of protein complexes may be used for identifying amino acids that could serve as targets for genetic engineering, such as mutagenesis.