Journal of biomolecular structure & dynamics 2017 07 25() 1-52 doi 10.1080/07391102.2017.1352538
Human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) has infected more than 40 million people around the world. HIV-1 treatment still has several side effects, and the development of a vaccine, which is another potential option for decreasing human infections, has faced challenges. This work presents a computational study that includes a quantitative structure activity relationship (QSAR) using density functional theory for reported peptides to identify the principal quantum mechanics descriptors related to peptide activity. In addition, the molecular recognition properties of these peptides are explored on major histocompatibility complex I (MHC-I) through docking and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations accompanied by the Molecular Mechanics Generalized Born Surface Area (MMGBSA) approach for correlating peptide activity reported elsewhere versus theoretical peptide affinity. The results show that the carboxylic acid and hydroxyl groups are chemical moieties that have an inverse relationship with biological activity. The number of sulfides, pyrroles and imidazoles from the peptide structure are directly related to biological activity. In addition, the HOMO orbital energy values of the total absolute charge and the Ghose-Crippen molar refractivity of peptides are descriptors directly related to the activity and affinity on MHC-I. Docking and MD simulation studies accompanied by an MMGBSA analysis show that the binding free energy without considering the entropic contribution is energetically favorable for all the complexes. Furthermore, good peptide interaction with the most affinity is evaluated experimentally for three proteins. Overall, this study shows that the combination of quantum mechanics descriptors and molecular modeling studies could help describe the immunogenic properties of peptides from HIV-1.