Cytosolic glutathione S-transferase (GST) enzymes participate in several cellular processes in addition to facilitating glutathione conjugation reactions that eliminate endogenous and exogenous toxic compounds, especially electrophiles. GSTs are thought to interact with various kinases, resulting in the modulation of apoptotic processes and cellular proliferation. The present research used a combination of in silico and in vitro studies to investigate protein–protein interactions between the seven most abundant cytosolic GSTs—GST alpha-1 (GST-A1), GST alpha-2 (GST-A2), GST mu-1 (GST-M1), GST mu-2 (GST-M2), GST mu-5 (GST-M5), GST theta-1 (GST-T1) and GST pi-1 (GST-P1)—and Mitogen-activated protein kinase 8 (MAPK8) and Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1). MAPK8 and ASK1 were chosen as this study’s protein interaction partners because of their predominant role in electrophile or cytokine-induced stress-mediated apoptosis, inflammation and fibrosis. The highest degree of sequence homology or sequence similarity was observed in two GST subgroups: the GST-A1, GST-A2 and GST-P1 isoforms constituted subgroup1; the GST-M1, GST-M2 and GST-M5 isoforms constituted subgroup 2. The GST-T1 isoform diverged from these isoforms. In silico investigations revealed that GST-M1 showed a significantly higher binding affinity to MAPK8, and its complex was more structurally stable than the other isoforms, in the order GST-M1 > GST-M5 > GST-P1 > GST-A2 > GST-A1 > GST-M2 > GST-T1. Similarly, GST-A1, GST-P1 and GST-T1 actively interacted with ASK1, and their structural stability was also better, in the order GST-T1 > GST-A1 > GST-P1 > GST-A2 > GST-M5 > GST-M1 > GST-M2. To validate in silico results, we performed in vitro crosslinking and mass spectroscopy experiments. Results indicated that GST-M1 interacted with GST-T1 to form heterodimers and confirmed the predicted interaction between GST-M1 and MAPK8. Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.
- MD simulations
- protein–protein docking