Molecular Dynamics Simulations Revealed the Regulation of Ligands to the Interactions between Androgen Receptor and Its Coactivator

Na Liu, Wenfang Zhou, Yue Guo, Junmei Wang, Weitao Fu, Huiyong Sun, Dan Li, Mojie Duan, Tingjun Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The androgen receptor (AR) plays important roles in gene expression regulation, sexual phenotype maintenance, and prostate cancer (PCa) development. The communications between the AR ligand-binding domain (LBD) and its coactivator are critical to the activation of AR. It is still unclear how the ligand binding would affect the AR-coactivator interactions. In this work, the effects of the ligand binding on the AR-coactivator communications were explored by molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The results showed that the ligand binding regulates the residue interactions in the function site AF-2. The ligand-to-coactivator allosteric pathway, which involves the coactivator, helix 3 (H3), helix 4 (H4), the loop between H3 and H4 (L3), and helix 12 (H12), and ligands, was characterized. In addition, the interactions of residues on the function site BF-3, especially on the boundary of AF-2 and BF-3, are also affected by the ligands. The MM/GBSA free energy calculations demonstrated that the binding affinity between the coactivator and apo-AR is roughly weaker than those between the coactivator and antagonistic ARs but stronger than those between the coactivator and agonistic ARs. The results indicated that the long-range electrostatic interactions and the conformational entropies are the main factors affecting the binding free energies. In addition, the F876L mutation on AR-LBD affects the ligand-to-coactivator allosteric pathway, which could be the reason for point mutation induced tolerance for the antagonistic drugs such as enzalutamide. Our study would help to develop novel drug candidates against PCa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1652-1661
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chemical Information and Modeling
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 27 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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