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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Combined NMR and molecular dynamics conformational filter identifies unambiguously dynamic ensembles of Dengue protease NS2B/NS3pro

Agback, Tatiana; Lesovoy, Dmitry; Han, Xiao; Lomzov, Alexander; Sun, Renhua; Sandalova, Tatyana; Orekhov, Vladislav Yu.; Achour, Adnane; Agback, Peter


The dengue protease NS2B/NS3pro has been reported to adopt either an ‘open’ or a ‘closed’ conformation. We have developed a conformational filter that combines NMR with MD simulations to identify conformational ensembles that dominate in solution. Experimental values derived from relaxation parameters for the backbone and methyl side chains were compared with the corresponding back-calculated relaxation parameters of different conformational ensembles obtained from free MD simulations. Our results demonstrate a high prevalence for the ‘closed’ conformational ensemble while the ‘open’ conformation is absent, indicating that the latter conformation is most probably due to crystal contacts. Conversely, conformational ensembles in which the positioning of the co-factor NS2B results in a ‘partially’ open conformation, previously described in both MD simulations and X-ray studies, were identified by our conformational filter. Altogether, we believe that our approach allows for unambiguous identification of true conformational ensembles, an essential step for reliable drug discovery.

Published in

Communications biology
2023, Volume: 6, number: 1, article number: 1193