Structure-based design of a cyclophilin-calcineurin bridging ligand

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Science  08 Oct 1993:
Vol. 262, Issue 5131, pp. 248-250
DOI: 10.1126/science.8211144


The affinity of a flexible ligand that adopts a specific conformation when bound to its receptor should be increased with the appropriate use of conformational restraints. By determining the structure of protein-ligand complexes, such restraints can in principle be designed into the bound ligand in a rational way. A tricyclic variant (TCsA) of the immunosuppressant cyclosporin A (CsA), which inhibits the proliferation of T lymphocytes by forming a cyclophilin-CsA-calcineurin complex, was designed with the known three-dimensional structure of a cyclophilin-CsA complex. The conformational restraints in TCsA appear to be responsible for its greater affinity for cyclophilin and calcineurin relative to CsA.