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PAGE4 and Conformational Switching: Insights from Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Implications for Prostate Cancer



Alexander Grishaev, Xingcheng Lin, Mohit Jolly, Federico Bocci, Nicholas Schafer, Min-Yeh Tsai, Yihong Chen, Yanan He, Keith Weninger, John Orban, Prakash Kulkarni, Govindan Rangarajan, Herbert Levine, Jose Onuchic


Prostate-Associated Gene 4 (PAGE4) is a disordered protein implicated in the progression of prostate cancer. PAGE4 can be phosphorylated at two residue sites by Homeodomain-Interacting Protein Kinase 1 (HIPK1) to facilitate its binding to the Activator Protein-1 (AP-1) transcription factor. In contrast, a further hyperphosphorylation of PAGE4 by CDC-Like Kinase 2 (CLK2) reduces its binding affinity to AP-1, thus affecting the androgen receptor (AR) activity. Both SAXS and smFRET experiments have shown a structural expansion of PAGE4 upon hyperphosphorylation and a significant increase in size at its N-terminal half than that at its C-terminus. To understand the molecular mechanism underlying this structural transition, we performed a series of constant temperature molecular dynamics simulations using Atomistic AWSEM — a multi- scale molecular model combining detailed atomistic and coarse-grained simulation approaches. Our simulations show that electrostatic interaction drives a transient formation of an N-terminal loop, which causes the change in size for different phosphorylated forms of PAGE4. Phosphorylation also changes the preference of secondary structure formation of PAGE4, which signifies a transition between states that display different degree of disorder. Finally, we construct a mechanism-based mathematical model that allows us to capture the interactions of different forms of PAGE4 with AP-1 and AR, a key therapeutic target in prostate cancer. Our model predicts intracellular oscillatory dynamics of HIPK1-PAGE4, CLK2-PAGE4 and AR activity, indicating phenotypic heterogeneity in an isogenic cell population. Thus, conformational switching among different forms of PAGE4 may potentially affect the efficiency of therapeutic targeting of AR.
Journal of Molecular Biology


Prostate-Associated Gene 4, Molecular Dynamics, Intrinsically Disordered Protein


Grishaev, A. , Lin, X. , Jolly, M. , Bocci, F. , Schafer, N. , Tsai, M. , Chen, Y. , He, Y. , Weninger, K. , Orban, J. , Kulkarni, P. , Rangarajan, G. , Levine, H. and Onuchic, J. (2018), PAGE4 and Conformational Switching: Insights from Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Implications for Prostate Cancer, Journal of Molecular Biology, [online], (Accessed July 19, 2024)


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Created August 2, 2018, Updated October 13, 2022