National Center for
5BOJ: Crystal Structure of Human Transthyretin in Complex with Gemfibrozil
Enthalpic Forces Correlate with the Selectivity of Transthyretin-Stabilizing Ligands in Human Plasma
J. Med. Chem. (2015) 58 p.6507-6515
The plasma protein transthyretin (TTR) is linked to human amyloidosis. Dissociation of its native tetrameric assembly is a rate-limiting step in the conversion from a native structure into a pathological amyloidogenic fold. Binding of small molecule ligands within the thyroxine binding site of TTR can stabilize the tetrameric integrity and is a potential therapeutic approach. However, through the characterization of nine different tetramer-stabilizing ligands we found that unspecific binding to plasma components might significantly compromise ligand efficacy. Surprisingly the binding strength between a particular ligand and TTR does not correlate well with its selectivity in plasma. However, through analysis of the thermodynamic signature using isothermal titration calorimetry we discovered a better correlation between selectivity and the enthalpic component of the interaction. This is of specific interest in the quest for more efficient TTR stabilizers, but a high selectivity is an almost universally desired feature within drug design and the finding might have wide-ranging implications for drug design.