Video3_Exploring Covalent Docking Mechanisms of Boron-Based Inhibitors to Class A, C and D β-Lactamases Using Time-dependent Hybrid QM/MM Simulations.MOV
Recently, molecular covalent docking has been extensively developed to design new classes of inhibitors that form chemical bonds with their biological targets. This strategy for the design of such inhibitors, in particular boron-based inhibitors, holds great promise for the vast family of β-lactamases produced, inter alia, by Gram-negative antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, the description of covalent docking processes requires a quantum-mechanical approach, and so far, only a few studies of this type have been presented. This study accurately describes the covalent docking process between two model inhibitors - representing two large families of inhibitors based on boronic-acid and bicyclic boronate scaffolds, and three β-lactamases which belong to the A, C, and D classes. Molecular fragments containing boron can be converted from a neutral, trigonal, planar state with sp2 hybridization to the anionic, tetrahedral sp3 state in a process sometimes referred to as morphing. This study applies multi-scale modeling methods, in particular, the hybrid QM/MM approach which has predictive power reaching well beyond conventional molecular modeling. Time-dependent QM/MM simulations indicated several structural changes and geometric preferences, ultimately leading to covalent docking processes. With current computing technologies, this approach is not computationally expensive, can be used in standard molecular modeling and molecular design works, and can effectively support experimental research which should allow for a detailed understanding of complex processes important to molecular medicine. In particular, it can support the rational design of covalent boron-based inhibitors for β-lactamases as well as for many other enzyme systems of clinical relevance, including SARS-CoV-2 proteins.