Molecular modeling and molecular dynamic simulation of the effects of variants in the TGFBR2 kinase domain as a paradigm for interpretation of variants obtained by next generation sequencing

Michael T. Zimmermann, Raul Urrutia, Gavin R. Oliver, Patrick R. Blackburn, Margot A. Cousin, Nicole J. Bozeck, Eric W Klee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Variants in the TGFBR2 kinase domain cause several human diseases and can increase propensity for cancer. The widespread application of next generation sequencing within the setting of Individualized Medicine (IM) is increasing the rate at which TGFBR2 kinase domain variants are being identified. However, their clinical relevance is often uncertain. Consequently, we sought to evaluate the use of molecular modeling and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations for assessing the potential impact of variants within this domain. We documented the structural differences revealed by these models across 57 variants using independent MD simulations for each. Our simulations revealed various mechanisms by which variants may lead to functional alteration; some are revealed energetically, while others structurally or dynamically. We found that the ATP binding site and activation loop dynamics may be affected by variants at positions throughout the structure. This prediction cannot be made from the linear sequence alone. We present our structure-based analyses alongside those obtained using several commonly used genomics-based predictive algorithms. We believe the further mechanistic information revealed by molecular modeling will be useful in guiding the examination of clinically observed variants throughout the exome, as well as those likely to be discovered in the near future by clinical tests leveraging nextgeneration sequencing through IM efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number0170822
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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