Change in binding states between catabolite activating protein and DNA induced by ligand-binding: molecular dynamics and ab initio fragment molecular orbital calculations

  • Ryo Anan
  • Toshiya Nakamura
  • Kanako Shimamura
  • Yuki Matsushita
  • Tatsuya Ohyama
  • Noriyuki KuritaEmail author
Original Paper


The transcription mechanism of genetic information from DNA to RNA is efficiently controlled by regulatory proteins, such as catabolite activator protein (CAP), and their ligands. When cyclic AMP (cAMP) binds to CAP, the complex forms a dimer and binds specifically to DNA to activate the transcription mechanism. On the other hand, when cyclic GMP (cGMP) binds to CAP, the complex has no marked effect on the mechanism. In our previous study, based on molecular dynamics (MD) and ab initio fragment molecular orbital (FMO) methods, we elucidated which residues of CAP are important for the specific interactions between CAP and DNA in the CAP-monomer+DNA + cAMP complex. However, this monomer model for CAP cannot describe real interactions between the CAP-dimer and DNA because CAPs form a dimer before binding to DNA. Accordingly, here, we investigated stable structures and their electronic states for the CAP-dimer+DNA complex with cAMP or cGMP ligand, to clarify the influence of ligand-binding on the interactions between CAP-dimer and DNA. The MD simulations elucidated that the DNA-binding domains of CAP-dimer behave differently depending on the ligand bound to the CAP-dimer. In addition, FMO calculations revealed that the binding energy between CAP-dimer and DNA for the CAP-dimer+DNA + cAMP complex is larger than that for the CAP-dimer+DNA + cGMP complex, being consistent with experiments. It was also highlighted that the Arg185 and Lys188 residues of CAP-dimer are important for the binding between CAP-dimer and DNA. These results provide useful information for proposing new compounds that efficiently control the transcription mechanism.


Molecular dynamics Fragment molecular orbital Catabolite activator protein Cyclic AMP GMP Specific interactions 


Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 3221 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryo Anan
    • 1
  • Toshiya Nakamura
    • 1
  • Kanako Shimamura
    • 1
  • Yuki Matsushita
    • 1
  • Tatsuya Ohyama
    • 1
  • Noriyuki Kurita
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and EngineeringToyohashi University of TechnologyToyohashiJapan

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