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PAGE4 and Conformational Switching: Insights from Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Implications for Prostate Cancer

By Xingcheng Lin, Susmita Roy, Mohit Kumar Jolly, Federico Bocci, Nicholas Schafer, Min-Yeh Tsai, Yihong Chen, Yanan He, Alexander Grishaev, Keith Weninger, John Orban, Prakash Kulkarni, Govindan Rangarajan, Herbert Levine, José N. Onuchic

Posted 14 Feb 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/264010 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2018.05.011)

Prostate-Associated Gene 4 (PAGE4) is a disordered protein implicated in the progression of prostate cancer. PAGE4 can be phosphorylated at two residue sites by Homeodomain-Interacting Protein Kinase 1 (HIPK1) to facilitate its binding to the Activator Protein-1 (AP-1) transcription factor. In contrast, a further hyperphosphorylation of PAGE4 by CDC-Like Kinase 2 (CLK2) reduces its binding affinity to AP-1, thus affecting the androgen receptor (AR) activity. Both SAXS and smFRET experiments have shown a structural expansion of PAGE4 upon hyperphosphorylation and a significant increase in size at its N-terminal half than that at its C-terminus. To understand the molecular mechanism underlying this structural transition, we performed a series of constant temperature molecular dynamics simulations using Atomistic AWSEM --- a multi-scale molecular model combining detailed atomistic and coarse-grained simulation approaches. Our simulations show that electrostatic interaction drives a transient formation of an N-terminal loop, which causes the change in size for different phosphorylated forms of PAGE4. Phosphorylation also changes the preference of secondary structure formation of PAGE4, which signifies a transition between states that display different degree of disorder. Finally, we construct a mechanism-based mathematical model that allows us to capture the interactions of different forms of PAGE4 with AP-1 and AR, a key therapeutic target in prostate cancer. Our model predicts intracellular oscillatory dynamics of HIPK1-PAGE4, CLK2-PAGE4 and AR activity, indicating phenotypic heterogeneity in an isogenic cell population. Thus, conformational switching among different forms of PAGE4 may potentially affect the efficiency of therapeutic targeting of AR.

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