Docking studies and molecular dynamics simulations of the binding characteristics of waldiomycin and its methyl ester analog to Staphylococcus aureus histidine kinase
Bacterial histidine kinases (HKs) are considered attractive drug targets because of their ability to govern adaptive responses coupled with their ubiquity. There are several classes of HK inhibitors; however, they suffer from drug resistance, poor bioavailability, and a lack of selectivity. The 3D structure of Staphylococcus aureus HK was not isolated in high-resolution coordinates, precluding further disclosure of structure-dependent binding to the specific antibiotics. To elucidate structure-dependent binding, the 3D structure of the catalytic domain WalK of S. aureus HK was constructed using homology modeling to investigate the WalK–ligand binding mechanisms through molecular docking studies and molecular dynamics simulations. The binding free energies of the waldiomycin and its methyl ester analog were calculated using molecular mechanics/generalized born surface area scoring. The key residues for protein–ligand binding were postulated. The structural divergence responsible for the 7.4-fold higher potency of waldiomycin than that of its ester analog was clearly observed. The optimized 3D macromolecule–ligand binding modes shed light on the S. aureus HK/WalK–ligand interactions that afford a means to assess binding affinity to design new HK/WalK inhibitors.