The von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein (pVHL) has an essential role in the regulation of the hypoxia response pathway in animal cells. Under normoxic conditions, the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) undergoes trans-4-prolyl hydroxylation and is subsequently recognised by the β-domain of pVHL, leading to the ubiquitination and degradation of HIF. Mutations of pVHL alter the binding of HIF. A subset of relevant clinically observed mutations to pVHL are thought to cause weaker binding of HIF-1α and are associated with cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Here, we present computational studies analyzing the interaction of HIF with mutant forms of pVHL, describing at atomic detail the local structural reorganization caused by substitution of certain residues of pVHL. The results reveal that the canonical configuration in the wild-type system is vital for the efficient functioning of the complex and that mutation of any of the residues implicated in the h-bond network in the binding site disrupts HIF binding. Although the experimentally observed ordering of binding energies for mutants of Tyr98 is reproduced, our examination of a broader range of mutations does not support the hypothesis of a correlation between the degree of disruption of the pVHL/HIF-1α interaction caused by a mutation and the phenotype with which the mutation is associated. We suggest that disruption of the binding interaction is one of many factors behind the manifestation of VHL disease.
- molecular dynamics, conformation, hypoxia, protein-protein interaction, HIPPEL-LINDAU-DISEASE, TUMOR-SUPPRESSOR GENE, RENAL-CELL CARCINOMA, MOLECULAR-DYNAMICS, GERMLINE MUTATIONS, PROTEIN STABILITY, PROLYL HYDROXYLATION, VHL, HIF, PREDICTION