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Forced Dissociation of Selectin-ligand Complexes Using Steered Molecular Dynamics Simulation

Shouqin Lü1, Mian Long1,2

National Microgravity Laboratory, Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080, P. R. China
Corresponding author, Tel. +86-10-6261-3540. Fax. +86-10-6261-3540. E-mail:

Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics 2005, 2(4), 161-178.


Selectin-ligand interactions are crucial to such biological processes as inflammatory cascade or tumor metastasis. How transient formation and dissociation of selectin-ligand bonds in blood flow are coupled to molecular conformation at atomic level, however, has not been well understood. In this study, steered molecular dynamics (SMD) simulations were used to elucidate the intramolecular and intermolecular conformational evolutions involved in forced dissociation of three selectin-ligand systems: the construct consisting of P-selectin lectin (Lec) and epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like domains (P-LE) interacting with synthesized sulfoglycopeptide or SGP-3, P-LE with sialyl Lewis X (sLeX), and E-LE with sLeX. SMD simulations were based on newly built-up force field parameters including carbohydrate units and sulfated tyrosine(s) using an analogy approach. The simulations demonstrated that the complex dissociation was coupled to the molecular extension. While the intramolecular unraveling in P-LE-SGP-3 system mainly resulted from the destroy of the two anti-parallel$\beta$ sheets of EGF domain and the breakage of hydrogen-bond cluster at the Lec-EGF interface, the intermolecular dissociation was mainly determined by separation of fucose (FUC) from Ca2+ ion in all three systems. Conformational changes during forced dissociations depended on pulling velocities and forces, as well as on how the force was applied. This work provides an insight into better understanding of conformational changes and adhesive functionality of selectin-ligand interactions under external forces.


Cite This Article

Lü, S., Long, M. (2005). Forced Dissociation of Selectin-ligand Complexes Using Steered Molecular Dynamics Simulation. Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics, 2(4), 161–178.

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