Prohormone or proprotein convertases (PC2) are members of the subtilisin family of serine proteases. They are involved in the activation of precursor molecules by endoproteolytic cleavage at basic amino acid residues within the general motif (K/R)-(X)n- (K/R)2, where n is 0, 2, 4 or 6 and X is usually not Cys. Among the members of this prohormone convertase family, Neuroendocrine Convertase-2 (NEC-2) is regarded as one of the important proteins involved in the maturation of many precursor proteins. Being widely distributed in the neuroendocrine cells, these proteins play a vital role in causing malignant gliomas. They can serve as important drug targets in the treatment of cancers. In the present study, a 3D model of NEC-2 was generated using homology modeling. The model was optimized by a brief energy minimization in CHARMM and dynamics simulation of 250ps in MOE. The validation results of PROCHECK and Profile 3D show that the stereochemical quality of the model is good. The Cα backbone of the template and the target (NEC-2) when superimposed showed RMSD of 0.39Å. The model showed Asp51, His92 and Ser268 in the active site as seen in most of the PC2 members. The NEC-2 structure differs from that of furin at the catalytic pocket region with relevance to the amino acid composition which can be exploited for the design of specific inhibitors towards NEC-2.
Keywords: Proprotein convertase2, neuroendocrine cells, NEC-2, malignant gliomas, homology modeling, energy minimization