Drug-binding kinetics could play important roles in determining the efficacy of drugs and has caught the attention of more drug designers. Using the dissociation of 1H-pyrrolo[2,3-b]-pyridines from the focal adhesion kinase as an example, this work finds that steered molecular dynamics simulations could help screen compounds with long-residence times. It also reveals a two-step mechanism of ligand dissociation resembling the release of ADP from protein kinase A reported earlier. A phenyl group attaching to the pyrrole prolongs residence time by creating a large activation barrier for transition from the bound to the intermediate state when it becomes exposed to the solvent. Principal component analysis shows that ligand dissociation does not couple with large-scale collective motions of the protein involving many of its amino acids. Rather, a small subset of amino acids dominates. Some of these amino acids do not contact the ligands directly along the dissociation pathways and could exert long-range allosteric effects. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

This work describes an example of using Steered molecular dynamics in kinetic calculations.