Computational analyses of the catalytic and heparin binding sites and their interactions with glycosaminoglycans in glycoside hydrolase family 79 endo-β-D-glucuronidase (heparanase)
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Mammalian heparanase is an endo-β-glucuronidase associated with cell invasion in cancer metastasis, angiogenesis and inflammation. Heparanase cleaves heparan sulfate proteoglycans in the extracellular matrix and basement membrane, releasing heparin/heparan sulfate oligosaccharides of appreciable size. This in turn causes the release of growth factors, which accelerate tumor growth and metastasis. Heparanase has two glycosaminoglycan-binding domains; however, no three-dimensional structure information is available for human heparanase that can provide insights into how the two domains interact to degrade heparin fragments. We have constructed a new homology model of heparanase that takes into account the most recent structural and bioinformatics data available. Heparin analogs and glycosaminoglycan mimetics were computationally docked into the active site with energetically stable ring conformations and their interaction energies were compared. The resulting docked structures were used to propose a model for substrates and conformer selectivity based on the dimensions of the active site. The docking of substrates and inhibitors indicates the existence of a large binding site extending at least two saccharide units beyond the cleavage site (toward the nonreducing end) and at least three saccharides toward the reducing end (toward heparin-binding site 2). The docking of substrates suggests that heparanase recognizes the N-sulfated and O-sulfated glucosamines at subsite +1 and glucuronic acid at the cleavage site, whereas in the absence of 6-O-sulfation in glucosamine, glucuronic acid is docked at subsite +2. These findings will help us to focus on the rational design of heparanase-inhibiting molecules for anticancer drug development by targeting the two heparin/heparan sulfate recognition domains.
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