Arsiccio, Andrea, et al. “A proximity-based in silico approach to identify redox-labile disulfide bonds: The example of FVIII.” PloS one 17.2 (2022): e0262409. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0262409
Allosteric disulfide bonds permit highly responsive, transient ‘switch-like’ properties that are ideal for processes like coagulation and inflammation that require rapid and localised responses to damage or injury. Haemophilia A (HA) is a rare bleeding disorder managed with exogenous coagulation factor(F) VIII products. FVIII has eight disulfide bonds and is known to be redox labile, but it is not known how reduction/oxidation affects the structure-function relationship, or its immunogenicity—a serious complication for 30% severe HA patients. Understanding how redox-mediated changes influence FVIII can inform molecular engineering strategies aimed at improving activity and stability, and reducing immunogenicity. FVIII is a challenging molecule to work with owing to its poor expression and instability so, in a proof-of-concept study, we used molecular dynamics (MD) to identify which disulfide bonds were most likely to be reduced and how this would affect structure/function; results were then experimentally verified. MD identified Cys1899-Cys1903 disulfide as the most likely to undergo reduction based on energy and proximity criteria. Further MD suggested this reduction led to a more open conformation. Here we present our findings and highlight the value of MD approaches.