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Importance of Polar Solvation for Cross-Reactivity of Antibody and Its Variants with Steroids

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journal contribution
posted on 16.06.2011, 00:00 by Parimal Kar, Reinhard Lipowsky, Volker Knecht
Understanding the factors determining the binding of ligands to receptors in detail is essential for rational drug design. Here, the free energies of binding of the steroids progesterone (PRG) and 5β-androstane-3,17-dione (5AD) to the Diels–Alderase antibody 1E9, as well as the LeuH47Trp/ArgH100Trp 1E9 double mutant (1E9dm) and the corresponding single mutants, have been estimated and decomposed using the molecular mechanics-Poisson–Boltzmann surface area (MM-PBSA) method. Also the difference in binding free energies between the PRG–1E9dm complex and the complex of PRG with the antiprogesterone antibody DB3 have been evaluated and decomposed. The steroids bind less strongly to 1E9 than to DB3, but the mutations tend to improve the steroid affinity, in quantitative agreement with experimental data. Although the complexes formed by PRG or 5AD with 1E9dm and by PRG with DB3 have similar affinity, the binding mechanisms are different. Reduced van der Waals interactions as observed for 5AD–1E9dm versus PRG–1E9dm or for PRG–1E9dm versus PRG–DB3 are energetically compensated by an increased solvation of polar groups, partly contrasting previous conclusions based on structural inspection. Our study illustrates that deducing binding mechanisms from structural models alone can be misleading. Therefore, taking into account solvation effects as in MM-PBSA calculations is essential to elucidate molecular recognition.