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In Journal of biomolecular structure & dynamics

Oncogenic mutations in the kinase domain of the B-Raf protein have long been associated with cancers involving the MAPK pathway. One constitutive MAPK activating mutation in B-Raf, the V600E (valine to glutamate) replacement occurring adjacent to a site of threonine phosphorylation (T599) occurs in many types of cancer, and in a large percentage of certain cancers, such as melanoma. Because ATP binding activity and the V600E mutation are both known to alter the physical behavior of the activation loop in the B-Raf ATP binding domain, this system is especially amenable to comparative analyses of molecular dynamics simulations modeling various genetic and drug class variants. Here, we employ machine learning enabled identification of functionally conserved protein dynamics to compare how the binding interactions of four B-Raf inhibitors impact the functional loop dynamics controlling ATP activation. We demonstrate that drug development targeting B-Raf has progressively moved towards ATP competitive inhibitors that demonstrate less tendency to mimic the functionally conserved dynamic changes associated with ATP activation and leading to the side effect of hyperactivation (i.e. inducing MAPK activation in non-tumorous cells in the absence of secondary mutation). We compare the functional dynamic impacts of V600E and other sensitizing and drug resistance causing mutations in the regulatory loops of B-Raf, confirming sites of low mutational tolerance in these regions. Lastly, we investigate V600E sensitivity of B-Raf loop dynamics in an evolutionary context, demonstrating that while sensitivity has an ancient origin with primitive eukaryotes, it was also secondarily increased during early jawed vertebrate evolution. Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.

Babbitt Gregory A, Lynch Miranda L, McCoy Matthew, Fokoue Ernest P, Hudson André O


B-Raf inhibitor, Oncogene, hyperactivation, machine learning, molecular dynamics, molecular evolution, mutational tolerance