# The mechanism by which P250L mutation impairs flavivirus-NS1 dimerization: an investigation based on molecular dynamics simulations

European Biophysics Journal, Jun 2016

The flavivirus non-structural protein 1 (NS1) is a conserved glycoprotein with as yet undefined biological function. This protein dimerizes when inside infected cells or associated to cell membranes but also forms lipid-associated hexamers when secreted to the extracellular space. A single amino acid substitution (P250L) is capable of preventing the dimerization of NS1 resulting in lower virulence and slower virus replication. In this work, based on molecular dynamics simulations of the dengue-2 virus NS1 $\beta$-ladder monomer as a core model, we found that this mutation can induce several conformational changes that importantly affect critical monomer–monomer interactions. Based on additional simulations, we suggest a mechanism by which a highly orchestrated sequence of events propagate the local perturbations around the mutation site towards the dimer interface. The elucidation of such a mechanism could potentially support new strategies for rational production of live-attenuated vaccines and highlights a step forward in the development of novel anti-flavivirus measures.

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Edson R. A. Oliveira, Ricardo B. de Alencastro, Bruno A. C. Horta. The mechanism by which P250L mutation impairs flavivirus-NS1 dimerization: an investigation based on molecular dynamics simulations, European Biophysics Journal, 2016, 573-580, DOI: 10.1007/s00249-016-1147-9