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Prostaglandin H2 synthase (PGHS) synthesizes PGH2, a prostaglandin precursor, from arachidonic acid and was the first monotopic enzyme to have its structure experimentally determined. Both isozymes of PGHS are inhibited by nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, an important class of drugs that are the primary means of relieving pain and inflammation. Selectively inhibiting the second isozyme, PGHS-2, minimizes the gastrointestinal side-effects. This had been achieved by the new PGHS-2 selective NSAIDs (i.e., COX-2 inhibitors) but it has been recently suggested that they suffer from additional side-effects. The design of these drugs only made use of static structures from x-ray crystallographic experiments. Investigating the dynamics of both PGHS-1 and PGHS-2 using classical molecular dynamics is expected to generate new insight into the differences in behavior between the isozymes, and therefore may allow improved PGHS-2 selective inhibitors to be designed. We describe a molecular dynamics protocol that integrates PGHS monomers into phospholipid bilayers, thereby producing in silico atomistic models of the PGHS system. Our protocol exploits the vacuum created beneath the protein when several lipids are removed from the top leaflet of the bilayer. The protein integrates into the bilayer during the first 5 ns in a repeatable process. The integrated PGHS monomer is stable and forms multiple hydrogen bonds between the phosphate groups of the lipids and conserved basic residues (Arg, Lys) on the protein. These interactions stabilize the system and are similar to interactions observed for transmembrane proteins.

Original publication




Journal article


Biophys J

Publication Date





401 - 410


Algorithms, Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Cyclooxygenase 1, Cyclooxygenase 2, Humans, Hydrogen Bonding, Lipid Bilayers, Membrane Proteins, Models, Molecular, Molecular Sequence Data, Phospholipids, Protein Binding, Sequence Homology, Amino Acid