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Biophys J. Oct 1987; 52(4): 657–662.
PMCID: PMC1330059

The effect of receptor density on the forward rate constant for binding of ligands to cell surface receptors.


For monovalent ligands interacting with cell surface receptors we have directly observed the functional dependence of the forward rate constant on the number of receptors per cell (N). The experimental system we studied consisted of monovalent ligand, 2,4-dinitrophenyl (DNP)-aminocaproyl-L-tyrosine (DCT), binding to bivalent, monoclonal anti-DNP immunoglobulin E (IgE) anchored to its high affinity receptor on rat basophilic leukemia (RBL) cells. To measure the fractional occupation of antibody combining sites by DNP we employed a recently developed fluorescence technique (Erickson, J., Kane, B. Goldstein, D. Holowka, and B. Baird, 1986, Mol. Immunol., 72:769-781). Our results are well fitted by the equation (Berg and Purcell, 1977, Biophys. J., 20:193-219) konc = 4 pi DaN kappa on/[4 pi Da + N kappa on] where konc is the forward rate constant for binding to the cell, D is the diffusion constant of the ligand, a is the radius of the cell, and kappa on is the intrinsic forward rate constant describing a single IgE combining site-DNP interaction. If D is fixed at 10(-5) cm2/s, the best fit of accumulated data predicts an average cell radius of approximately 4 microns and kappa on of approximately 1.8 x 10(-13) cm3/s [1.1 x 10(8)(M . s)-1]; both in excellent agreement with RBL cell size and the single-site forward rate constant for the binding of DCT to IgE in solution, respectively. We believe this is the first report of experimental evidence that directly illustrates the effect of surface density in determining the rates of binding for small molecules to membrane receptors.

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Selected References

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