Computational investigation of cis-1,4-polyisoprene binding to the latex-clearing protein LcpK30


PLoS One. 2024 May 15;19(5):e0302398. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0302398. eCollection 2024.


Latex clearing proteins (Lcps) catalyze the oxidative cleavage of the C = C bonds in cis-1,4-polyisoprene (natural rubber), producing oligomeric compounds that can be repurposed to other materials. The active catalytic site of Lcps is buried inside the protein structure, thus raising the question of how the large hydrophobic rubber chains can access the catalytic center. To improve our understanding of hydrophobic polymeric substrate binding to Lcps and subsequent catalysis, we investigated the interaction of a substrate model containing ten carbon-carbon double bonds with the structurally characterized LcpK30, using multiple computational tools. Prediction of the putative tunnels and cavities in the LcpK30 structure, using CAVER-Pymol plugin 3.0.3, fpocket and Molecular Dynamic (MD) simulations provided valuable insights on how substrate enters from the surface to the buried active site. Two dominant tunnels were discovered that provided feasible routes for substrate binding, and the presence of two hydrophobic pockets was predicted near the heme cofactor. The larger of these pockets is likely to accommodate the substrate and to determine the size distribution of the oligomers. Protein-ligand docking was carried out using GOLD software to predict the conformations and interactions of the substrate within the protein active site. Deeper insight into the protein-substrate interactions, including close-contacts, binding energies and potential cleavage sites in the cis-1,4-polyisoprene, were obtained from MD simulations. Our findings provide further justification that the protein-substrate complexation in LcpK30 is mainly driven by the hydrophobic interactions accompanied by mutual conformational changes of both molecules. Two potential binding modes were identified, with the substrate in either extended or folded conformations. Whilst binding in the extended conformation was most favorable, the folded conformation suggested a preference for cleavage of a central double bond, leading to a preference for oligomers with 5 to 6 C = C bonds. The results provide insight into further enzyme engineering studies to improve catalytic activity and diversify the substrate and product scope of Lcps.

PMID:38748648 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0302398