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Protein Sci. 1999 May;8(5):1075-86.

Structural bases of lectin-carbohydrate affinities: comparison with protein-folding energetics.

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Instituto de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, México DF.


We have made a comparative structure based analysis of the thermodynamics of lectin-carbohydrate (L-C) binding and protein folding. Examination of the total change in accessible surface area in those processes revealed a much larger decrease in free energy per unit of area buried in the case of L-C associations. According to our analysis, this larger stabilization of L-C interactions arises from a more favorable enthalpy of burying a unit of polar surface area, and from higher proportions of polar areas. Hydrogen bonds present at 14 L-C interfaces were identified, and their overall characteristics were compared to those reported before for hydrogen bonds in protein structures. Three major factors might explain why polar-polar interactions are stronger in L-C binding than in protein folding: (1) higher surface density of hydrogen bonds; (2) better hydrogen-bonding geometry; (3) larger proportion of hydrogen bonds involving charged groups. Theoretically, the binding entropy can be partitioned into three main contributions: entropy changes due to surface desolvation, entropy losses arising from freezing rotatable bonds, and entropic effects that result from restricting translation and overall rotation motions. These contributions were estimated from structural information and added up to give calculated binding entropies. Good correlation between experimental and calculated values was observed when solvation effects were treated according to a parametrization developed by other authors from protein folding studies. Finally, our structural parametrization gave calculated free energies that deviate from experimental values by 1.1 kcal/mol on the average; this amounts to an uncertainty of one order of magnitude in the binding constant.

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