Computational studies of sialyllactones: methods and uses
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N-Acetylneuraminic acid (1) is a common sugar in many biological recognition processes. Neuraminidase enzymes recognize and cleave terminal sialic acids from cell surfaces. Viral entry into host cells requires neuraminidase activity, thus inhibition of neuraminidase is a useful strategy for development of drugs for viral infections. A recent crystal structure for influenza viral neuraminidase with sialic acid bound shows that the sialic acid is in a boat conformation [Prot Struct Funct Genet 14: 327 (1992)]. Our studies seek to determine if structural pre-organization can be achieved through the use of sialyllactones. Determination of whether siallylactones are pre-organized in a binding conformation requires conformational analysis. Our inability to find a systematic study comparing the results obtained by various computational methods for carbohydrate modeling led us to compare two different conformational analysis techniques, four different force fields, and three different solvent models. The computational models were compared based on their ability to reproduce experimental coupling constants for sialic acid, sialyl-1,4-lactone, and sialyl-1,7-lactone derivatives. This study has shown that the MM3 forcefield using the implicit solvent model for water implemented in Macromodel best reproduces the experimental coupling constants. The low-energy conformations generated by this combination of computational methods are pre-organized toward conformations which fit well into the active site of neuraminidase.
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