Int J Mol Sci
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We have performed 280 μs of unbiased molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to investigate the effects of 12 different cancer mutations on Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (KEAP1) (G333C, G350S, G364C, G379D, R413L, R415G, A427V, G430C, R470C, R470H, R470S and G476R), one of the frequently mutated proteins in lung cancer. The aim was to provide structural insight into the effects of these mutants, including a new class of ANCHOR (additionally NRF2-complexed hypomorph) mutant variants. Our work provides additional insight into the structural dynamics of mutants that could not be analyzed experimentally, painting a more complete picture of their mutagenic effects. Notably, blade-wise analysis of the Kelch domain points to stability as a possible target of cancer in KEAP1. Interestingly, structural analysis of the R470C ANCHOR mutant, the most prevalent missense mutation in KEAP1, revealed no significant change in structural stability or NRF2 binding site dynamics, possibly indicating an covalent modification as this mutant's mode of action.
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