Discovery of Rab1 binding sites using an ensemble of clustering methods

Targeting non-native-ligand binding sites for potential investigative and therapeutic applications is an attractive strategy in proteins that share common native ligands, as in Rab1 protein. Rab1 is a subfamily member of Rab proteins, which are members of Ras GTPase superfamily. All Ras GTPase superfamily members bind to native ligands GTP and GDP, that switch on and off the proteins, respectively. Rab1 is physiologically essential for autophagy and transport between endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus. Pathologically, Rab1 is implicated in human cancers, a neurodegenerative disease, cardiomyopathy, and bacteria-caused infectious diseases. We have performed structural analyses on Rab1 protein using a unique ensemble of clustering methods, including multi-step principal component analysis, non-negative matrix factorization, and independent component analysis, to better identify representative Rab1 proteins than the application of a single clustering method alone does. We then used the identified representative Rab1 structures, resolved in multiple ligand states, to map their known and novel binding sites. We report here at least a novel binding site on Rab1, involving Rab1-specific residues, that could be further explored for the rational design and development of investigative probes and/or therapeutic small molecules against the Rab1 protein.

Journal Paper
PROTEINS: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics, doi: 10.1002/prot.25254
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