Document Type


Publication Date



The binding kinetics of drugs to their targets are gradually being recognized as a crucial indicator of the efficacy of drugs in vivo, leading to the development of various computational methods for predicting the binding kinetics in recent years. However, compared with the prediction of binding affinity, the underlying structure and dynamic determinants of binding kinetics are more complicated. Efficient and accurate methods for predicting binding kinetics are still lacking. In this study, quantitative structure–kinetics relationship (QSKR) models were developed using 132 inhibitors targeting the ATP binding domain of heat shock protein 90α (HSP90α) to predict the dissociation rate constant (koff), enabling a direct assessment of the drug–target residence time. These models demonstrated good predictive performance, where hydrophobic and hydrogen bond interactions significantly influence the koff prediction. In subsequent applications, our models were used to assist in the discovery of new inhibitors for the N-terminal domain of HSP90α (N-HSP90α), demonstrating predictive capabilities on an experimental validation set with a new scaffold. In X-ray crystallography experiments, the loop-middle conformation of apo N-HSP90α was observed for the first time (previously, the loop-middle conformation had only been observed in holo-N-HSP90α structures). Interestingly, we observed different conformations of apo N-HSP90α simultaneously in an asymmetric unit, which was also observed in a holo-N-HSP90α structure, suggesting an equilibrium of conformations between different states in solution, which could be one of the determinants affecting the binding kinetics of the ligand. Different ligands can undergo conformational selection or alter the equilibrium of conformations, inducing conformational rearrangements and resulting in different effects on binding kinetics. We then used molecular dynamics simulations to describe conformational changes of apo N-HSP90α in different conformational states. In summary, the study of the binding kinetics and molecular mechanisms of N-HSP90α provides valuable information for the development of more targeted therapeutic approaches.


This article was originally published in JACS in 2024.

au4c00123_si_001.pdf (1154 kB)
The SMILES and binding kinetics information on the 132 HSP90 inhibitors used in this study, as well as the SMILES of 39 compounds tested in SPR experiments mentioned in this article (PDF)

au4c00123_si_002.xlsx (21 kB)
Accurate characterization of binding kinetics and allosteric mechanisms for the HSP90 chaperone inhibitors using AI-augmented integrative biophysical studies (Table S1) (XLSX)

au4c00123_si_003.xlsx (12 kB)
Accurate characterization of binding kinetics and allosteric mechanisms for the HSP90 chaperone inhibitors using AI-augmented integrative biophysical studies (Table S2) (XLSX)

Peer Reviewed



The authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.