Allosteric Modulation of the CB1 Cannabinoid Receptor by Cannabidiol-A Molecular Modeling Study of the N-Terminal Domain and the Allosteric-Orthosteric Coupling
The CB1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1R) contains one of the longest N termini among class A G protein-coupled receptors. Mutagenesis studies suggest that the allosteric binding site of cannabidiol (CBD) involves residues from the N terminal domain. In order to study the allosteric binding of CBD to CB1R we modeled the whole N-terminus of this receptor using the replica exchange molecular dynamics with solute tempering (REST2) approach. Then, the obtained structures of CB1R with the N terminus were used for ligand docking. A natural cannabinoid receptor agonist, Δ9-THC, was docked to the orthosteric site and a negative allosteric modulator, CBD, to the allosteric site positioned between extracellular ends of helices TM1 and TM2. The molecular dynamics simulations were then performed for CB1R with ligands: (i) CBD together with THC, and (ii) THC-only. Analyses of the differences in the residue-residue interaction patterns between those two cases allowed us to elucidate the allosteric network responsible for the modulation of the CB1R by CBD. In addition, we identified the changes in the orthosteric binding mode of Δ9-THC, as well as the changes in its binding energy, caused by the CBD allosteric binding. We have also found that the presence of a complete N-terminal domain is essential for a stable binding of CBD in the allosteric site of CB1R as well as for the allosteric-orthosteric coupling mechanism.
Keywords: CB1; CBD; GPCRs; REST2; THC; allosteric modulation; cannabinoid receptor; interaction fingerprints; molecular dynamics.