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PPAR Research




Chiglitazar is a promising new-generation insulin sensitizer with low reverse effects for the treatment of type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and has shown activity as a nonselective pan-agonist to the human peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) (i.e., full activation of PPARγ and a partial activation of PPARα and PPARβ/δ). Yet, it has no high-resolution complex structure with PPARs and its detailed interactions and activation mechanism remain unclear. In this study, we docked chiglitazar into three experimentally resolved crystal structures of hPPAR subtypes, PPARα, PPARβ/δ, and PPARγ, followed by 3 μs molecular dynamics simulations for each system. Our MM-GBSA binding energy calculation revealed that chiglitazar most favorably bound to hPPARγ (-144.6 kcal/mol), followed by hPPARα (-138.0 kcal/mol) and hPPARβ (-135.9 kcal/mol), and the order is consistent with the experimental data. Through the decomposition of the MM-GBSA binding energy by residue and the use of two-dimensional interaction diagrams, key residues involved in the binding of chiglitazar were identified and characterized for each complex system. Additionally, our detailed dynamics analyses support that the conformation and dynamics of helix 12 play a critical role in determining the activities of the different types of ligands (e.g., full agonist vs. partial agonist). Rather than being bent fully in the direction of the agonist versus antagonist conformation, a partial agonist can adopt a more linear conformation and have a lower degree of flexibility. Our finding may aid in further development of this new generation of medication.


Copyright © 2020 Holli-Joi Sullivan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.