Molecular dynamic simulation and analysis of PEA-15 complexes with ERK2 and FADD

Authors: Joyce Ikedife Mentor: Dr. Yufeng Wei (B.S, Ph.D) Affiliations; Department of Arts and sciences, New Jersey City University, 2049 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Jersey city NJ 07305

PEA-15, phosphoprotein enriched in astrocytes, 15 kDa, performs a variety of functions in regulating cellular pathways, such as cell proliferation and apoptosis. The protein consists of a death effector domain (DED) and a long, irregular structured C-terminal tail. We hypothesize that phosphorylation of the C-terminal tail residues, Ser-104 and Ser-116, promotes conformational changes at the DED, and alters the binding specificity from extracellular regulated kinase-2 (ERK2) to Fas associated death domain (FADD). To test the hypothesis, we used the molecular dynamics package, GROMACS, to simulate the complexes between unphosophorylated PEA-15 and ERK2, and phosphorylated PEA-15 (PEA-15pp) and FADD on a GPU-equipped Linux workstation, with simulation time up to 150 ns. The simulated complex structures were analyzed and visualized with VMD and PyMOL programs. From the computational experiment, we have found that the DED conformations and surface polar interactions are dependent on phosphorylation states on the C-terminal serine residues. The binding interfaces between PEA-15 and ERK and PEA-15pp and FADD are similarly composed of both DED and C-terminal tail residues of PEA-15. Residues from helices 5 and 6 of the DED directly interact with either ERK2 or FADD, while helices 2, 3, and 4 become more flexible in the complex structures than the free-form protein. PEA-15 also uses the same stretch of its irregular C-terminal tail to interact with FADD or ERK2 (residues 116-130). Phosphorylation of Ser-104 and Ser-116 on the C-terminal tail alters the binding specificity from ERK2 to FADD, as the negatively charged phosphoryl groups interact with positively charged amino acids on FADD, while there are no charge-charge interactions of the C-terminal tail with ERK2.


Crespo-Flores, S. L., Cabezas, A., Hassan, S., & Wei, Y. (2019). PEA-15 C-Terminal Tail Allosterically Modulates Death-Effector Domain Conformation and Facilitates Protein–Protein Interactions. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(13), 3335.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Joyce Ikedife

Institution: New Jersey City University

Type: Poster

Subject: Biochemistry

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 1
Date/Time: Mon 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 2147