Biochemistry and Pharmacology - Research Publications

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    Structure-guided machine learning prediction of drug resistance mutations in Abelson 1 kinase
    Zhou, Y ; Portelli, S ; Pat, M ; Rodrigues, CHM ; Thanh-Binh, N ; Pires, DE ; Ascher, DB (ELSEVIER, 2021-10-01)
    Kinases play crucial roles in cellular signalling and biological processes with their dysregulation associated with diseases, including cancers. Kinase inhibitors, most notably those targeting ABeLson 1 (ABL1) kinase in chronic myeloid leukemia, have had a significant impact on cancer survival, yet emergence of resistance mutations can reduce their effectiveness, leading to therapeutic failure. Limited effort, however, has been devoted to developing tools to accurately identify ABL1 resistance mutations, as well as providing insights into their molecular mechanisms. Here we investigated the structural basis of ABL1 mutations modulating binding affinity of eight FDA-approved drugs. We found mutations impair affinity of type I and type II inhibitors differently and used this insight to developed a novel web-based diagnostic tool, SUSPECT-ABL, to pre-emptively predict resistance profiles and binding free-energy changes (ΔΔG) of all possible ABL1 mutations against inhibitors with different binding modes. Resistance mutations in ABL1 were successfully identified, achieving a Matthew's Correlation Coefficient of up to 0.73 and the resulting change in ligand binding affinity with a Pearson's correlation of up to 0.77, with performances consistent across non-redundant blind tests. Through an in silico saturation mutagenesis, our tool has identified possibly emerging resistance mutations, which offers opportunities for in vivo experimental validation. We believe SUSPECT-ABL will be an important tool not just for improving precision medicine efforts, but for facilitating the development of next-generation inhibitors that are less prone to resistance. We have made our tool freely available at http://biosig.unimelb.edu.au/suspect_abl/.
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    mmCSM-PPI: predicting the effects of multiple point mutations on protein-protein interactions
    Rodrigues, CHM ; Pires, DE ; Ascher, DB (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2021-04-24)
    Protein-protein interactions play a crucial role in all cellular functions and biological processes and mutations leading to their disruption are enriched in many diseases. While a number of computational methods to assess the effects of variants on protein-protein binding affinity have been proposed, they are in general limited to the analysis of single point mutations and have been shown to perform poorly on independent test sets. Here, we present mmCSM-PPI, a scalable and effective machine learning model for accurately assessing changes in protein-protein binding affinity caused by single and multiple missense mutations. We expanded our well-established graph-based signatures in order to capture physicochemical and geometrical properties of multiple wild-type residue environments and integrated them with substitution scores and dynamics terms from normal mode analysis. mmCSM-PPI was able to achieve a Pearson's correlation of up to 0.75 (RMSE = 1.64 kcal/mol) under 10-fold cross-validation and 0.70 (RMSE = 2.06 kcal/mol) on a non-redundant blind test, outperforming existing methods. Our method is freely available as a user-friendly and easy-to-use web server and API at http://biosig.unimelb.edu.au/mmcsm_ppi.
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    Exploring the structural distribution of genetic variation in SARS-CoV-2 with the COVID-3D online resource (vol 52, pg 999, 2020)
    Portelli, S ; Olshansky, M ; Rodrigues, CHM ; D'Souza, EN ; Myung, Y ; Silk, M ; Alavi, A ; Pires, DEV ; Ascher, DB (NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-01-04)
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    DynaMut2: Assessing changes in stability and flexibility upon single and multiple point missense mutations
    Rodrigues, CHM ; Pires, DEV ; Ascher, DB (WILEY, 2020-09-11)
    Predicting the effect of missense variations on protein stability and dynamics is important for understanding their role in diseases, and the link between protein structure and function. Approaches to estimate these changes have been proposed, but most only consider single-point missense variants and a static state of the protein, with those that incorporate dynamics are computationally expensive. Here we present DynaMut2, a web server that combines Normal Mode Analysis (NMA) methods to capture protein motion and our graph-based signatures to represent the wildtype environment to investigate the effects of single and multiple point mutations on protein stability and dynamics. DynaMut2 was able to accurately predict the effects of missense mutations on protein stability, achieving Pearson's correlation of up to 0.72 (RMSE: 1.02 kcal/mol) on a single point and 0.64 (RMSE: 1.80 kcal/mol) on multiple-point missense mutations across 10-fold cross-validation and independent blind tests. For single-point mutations, DynaMut2 achieved comparable performance with other methods when predicting variations in Gibbs Free Energy (ΔΔG) and in melting temperature (ΔTm ). We anticipate our tool to be a valuable suite for the study of protein flexibility analysis and the study of the role of variants in disease. DynaMut2 is freely available as a web server and API at http://biosig.unimelb.edu.au/dynamut2.
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    Computational saturation mutagenesis to predict structural consequences of systematic mutations in the beta subunit of RNA polymerase in Mycobacterium leprae
    Vedithi, SC ; Rodrigues, CHM ; Portelli, S ; Skwark, MJ ; Das, M ; Ascher, DB ; Blundell, TL ; Malhotra, S (ELSEVIER, 2020-01-01)
    Rifampin resistance in leprosy may remain undetected due to the lack of rapid and effective diagnostic tools. A quick and reliable method is essential to determine the impacts of emerging detrimental mutations in the drug targets. The functional consequences of missense mutations in the β-subunit of RNA polymerase (RNAP) in Mycobacterium leprae (M. leprae) contribute to phenotypic resistance to rifampin in leprosy. Here, we report in-silico saturation mutagenesis of all residues in the β-subunit of RNAP to all other 19 amino acid types (generating 21,394 mutations for 1126 residues) and predict their impacts on overall thermodynamic stability, on interactions at subunit interfaces, and on β-subunit-RNA and rifampin affinities (only for the rifampin binding site) using state-of-the-art structure, sequence and normal mode analysis-based methods. Mutations in the conserved residues that line the active-site cleft show largely destabilizing effects, resulting in increased relative solvent accessibility and a concomitant decrease in residue-depth (the extent to which a residue is buried in the protein structure space) of the mutant residues. The mutations at residue positions S437, G459, H451, P489, K884 and H1035 are identified as extremely detrimental as they induce highly destabilizing effects on the overall protein stability, and nucleic acid and rifampin affinities. Destabilizing effects were predicted for all the clinically/experimentally identified rifampin-resistant mutations in M. leprae indicating that this model can be used as a surveillance tool to monitor emerging detrimental mutations that destabilise RNAP-rifampin interactions and confer rifampin resistance in leprosy. AUTHOR SUMMARY: The emergence of primary and secondary drug resistance to rifampin in leprosy is a growing concern and poses a threat to the leprosy control and elimination measures globally. In the absence of an effective in-vitro system to detect and monitor phenotypic resistance to rifampin in leprosy, diagnosis mainly relies on the presence of mutations in drug resistance determining regions of the rpoB gene that encodes the β-subunit of RNAP in M. leprae. Few labs in the world perform mouse food pad propagation of M. leprae in the presence of drugs (rifampin) to determine growth patterns and confirm resistance, however the duration of these methods lasts from 8 to 12 months making them impractical for diagnosis. Understanding molecular mechanisms of drug resistance is vital to associating mutations to clinically detected drug resistance in leprosy. Here we propose an in-silico saturation mutagenesis approach to comprehensively elucidate the structural implications of any mutations that exist or that can arise in the β-subunit of RNAP in M. leprae. Most of the predicted mutations may not occur in M. leprae due to fitness costs but the information thus generated by this approach help decipher the impacts of mutations across the structure and conversely enable identification of stable regions in the protein that are least impacted by mutations (mutation coolspots) which can be a potential choice for small molecule binding and structure guided drug discovery.
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    Structure guided prediction of Pyrazinamide resistance mutations in pncA
    Karmakar, M ; Rodrigues, CHM ; Horan, K ; Denholm, JT ; Ascher, DB (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2020-02-05)
    Pyrazinamide plays an important role in tuberculosis treatment; however, its use is complicated by side-effects and challenges with reliable drug susceptibility testing. Resistance to pyrazinamide is largely driven by mutations in pyrazinamidase (pncA), responsible for drug activation, but genetic heterogeneity has hindered development of a molecular diagnostic test. We proposed to use information on how variants were likely to affect the 3D structure of pncA to identify variants likely to lead to pyrazinamide resistance. We curated 610 pncA mutations with high confidence experimental and clinical information on pyrazinamide susceptibility. The molecular consequences of each mutation on protein stability, conformation, and interactions were computationally assessed using our comprehensive suite of graph-based signature methods, mCSM. The molecular consequences of the variants were used to train a classifier with an accuracy of 80%. Our model was tested against internationally curated clinical datasets, achieving up to 85% accuracy. Screening of 600 Victorian clinical isolates identified a set of previously unreported variants, which our model had a 71% agreement with drug susceptibility testing. Here, we have shown the 3D structure of pncA can be used to accurately identify pyrazinamide resistance mutations. SUSPECT-PZA is freely available at: http://biosig.unimelb.edu.au/suspect_pza/.
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    mCSM-membrane: predicting the effects of mutations on transmembrane proteins.
    Pires, DEV ; Rodrigues, CHM ; Ascher, DB (Oxford University Press, 2020-07-02)
    Significant efforts have been invested into understanding and predicting the molecular consequences of mutations in protein coding regions, however nearly all approaches have been developed using globular, soluble proteins. These methods have been shown to poorly translate to studying the effects of mutations in membrane proteins. To fill this gap, here we report, mCSM-membrane, a user-friendly web server that can be used to analyse the impacts of mutations on membrane protein stability and the likelihood of them being disease associated. mCSM-membrane derives from our well-established mutation modelling approach that uses graph-based signatures to model protein geometry and physicochemical properties for supervised learning. Our stability predictor achieved correlations of up to 0.72 and 0.67 (on cross validation and blind tests, respectively), while our pathogenicity predictor achieved a Matthew's Correlation Coefficient (MCC) of up to 0.77 and 0.73, outperforming previously described methods in both predicting changes in stability and in identifying pathogenic variants. mCSM-membrane will be an invaluable and dedicated resource for investigating the effects of single-point mutations on membrane proteins through a freely available, user friendly web server at http://biosig.unimelb.edu.au/mcsm_membrane.
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    Empirical ways to identify novel Bedaquiline resistance mutations in AtpE
    Karmakar, M ; Rodrigues, CHM ; Holt, KE ; Dunstan, SJ ; Denholm, J ; Ascher, DB ; Mokrousov, I (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2019-05-29)
    Clinical resistance against Bedaquiline, the first new anti-tuberculosis compound with a novel mechanism of action in over 40 years, has already been detected in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. As a new drug, however, there is currently insufficient clinical data to facilitate reliable and timely identification of genomic determinants of resistance. Here we investigate the structural basis for M. tuberculosis associated bedaquiline resistance in the drug target, AtpE. Together with the 9 previously identified resistance-associated variants in AtpE, 54 non-resistance-associated mutations were identified through comparisons of bedaquiline susceptibility across 23 different mycobacterial species. Computational analysis of the structural and functional consequences of these variants revealed that resistance associated variants were mainly localized at the drug binding site, disrupting key interactions with bedaquiline leading to reduced binding affinity. This was used to train a supervised predictive algorithm, which accurately identified likely resistance mutations (93.3% accuracy). Application of this model to circulating variants present in the Asia-Pacific region suggests that current circulating variants are likely to be susceptible to bedaquiline. We have made this model freely available through a user-friendly web interface called SUSPECT-BDQ, StrUctural Susceptibility PrEdiCTion for bedaquiline (http://biosig.unimelb.edu.au/suspect_bdq/). This tool could be useful for the rapid characterization of novel clinical variants, to help guide the effective use of bedaquiline, and to minimize the spread of clinical resistance.
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    mCSM-PPI2: predicting the effects of mutations on protein-protein interactions
    Rodrigues, CHM ; Myung, Y ; Pires, DEV ; Ascher, DB (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2019-07-02)
    Protein-protein Interactions are involved in most fundamental biological processes, with disease causing mutations enriched at their interfaces. Here we present mCSM-PPI2, a novel machine learning computational tool designed to more accurately predict the effects of missense mutations on protein-protein interaction binding affinity. mCSM-PPI2 uses graph-based structural signatures to model effects of variations on the inter-residue interaction network, evolutionary information, complex network metrics and energetic terms to generate an optimised predictor. We demonstrate that our method outperforms previous methods, ranking first among 26 others on CAPRI blind tests. mCSM-PPI2 is freely available as a user friendly webserver at http://biosig.unimelb.edu.au/mcsm_ppi2/.
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    DynaMut: predicting the impact of mutations on protein conformation, flexibility and stability
    Rodrigues, CHM ; Pires, DE ; Ascher, DB (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2018-07-02)
    Proteins are highly dynamic molecules, whose function is intrinsically linked to their molecular motions. Despite the pivotal role of protein dynamics, their computational simulation cost has led to most structure-based approaches for assessing the impact of mutations on protein structure and function relying upon static structures. Here we present DynaMut, a web server implementing two distinct, well established normal mode approaches, which can be used to analyze and visualize protein dynamics by sampling conformations and assess the impact of mutations on protein dynamics and stability resulting from vibrational entropy changes. DynaMut integrates our graph-based signatures along with normal mode dynamics to generate a consensus prediction of the impact of a mutation on protein stability. We demonstrate our approach outperforms alternative approaches to predict the effects of mutations on protein stability and flexibility (P-value < 0.001), achieving a correlation of up to 0.70 on blind tests. DynaMut also provides a comprehensive suite for protein motion and flexibility analysis and visualization via a freely available, user friendly web server at http://biosig.unimelb.edu.au/dynamut/.