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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Dec 2021 - 17 Dec 2021

Pharmacology/Drug Development

2021 Dec




The eptinezumab:CGRP complex structure – the role of conformational changes in binding stabilization.


David L, Scalley-Kim M, Olland A, White A, Misura K
Bioengineered. 2021 Dec; 12(2):11076-11086.
PMID: 34895054.


To further elucidate the mechanism of action and binding properties of eptinezumab to calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), X-ray crystallography, computational alanine scanning, and molecular dynamics were used. X-ray diffraction data were collected to determine the three-dimensional structures of the unbound eptinezumab antigen-binding fragment (Fab) and the Fab:CGRP complex. Molecular dynamics simulations were performed to analyze the transition between uncomplexed and complex states. The amidated C-terminus of CGRP was shown to bind in a pocket formed by the Fab heavy and light chains. There was extensive contact between all six complementarity-determining regions (CDRs; composed of light-chain [L1, L2, and L3] and heavy-chain [H1, H2, H3]) of eptinezumab and CGRP. The complex demonstrated a high ligand-binding surface area dominated by aromatic residues. CDR L3 contains a disulfide bond that stabilizes the loop, contributes surface area to the binding pocket, and provides van der Waals contacts. Comparison of the uncomplexed and complex structures revealed motion near the binding cleft. The CDR loops H2 and H3 were displaced ~1.4-2.0 Å and residue H-Tyr33 changed conformation, creating a 'latch-and-lock' mechanism for binding CGRP and preventing dissociation. Computational alanine scanning of CGRP identified energetic 'hot spots' that contribute to binding energy; mutating these positions to residues in homologous neuropeptides resulted in unfavorable binding energies. The attributes of the Fab region and the conformational changes that occur in eptinezumab during binding to CGRP contribute to the specificity, durability, and strength of the interaction, and likely underlie the rapid and sustained migraine preventive effect observed in clinical studies.