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Biotechniques. 2001 Jul;31(1):164-6, 168, 170 passim.

Making cool drugs hot: isothermal titration calorimetry as a tool to study binding energetics.

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Biomolecular Design Group, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, R & D Mereside, Alderley Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK10 4TG, UK.


Characterization of the thermodynamics of binding interactions is important in improving our understanding of bimolecular recognition and forms an essential part of the rational drug design process. Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) is rapidly becoming established as the method of choice for undertaking such studies. The power of ITC lies in its unique ability to measure binding reactions by the detection of the heat change during the binding interaction. Since heat changes occur during many physicochemical processes, ITC has a broad application, ranging from chemical and biochemical binding studies to more complex processes involving enthalpy changes, such as enzyme kinetics. Several features of ITC have facilitated its preferential use compared to other techniques that estimate affinity. It is a sensitive, rapid, and direct method with no requirement for chemical modification or immobilization. It is the only technique that directly measures enthalpy of binding and so eliminates the need for van't Hoff analysis, which can be time consuming and prone to uncertainty in parameter values. Although ITC has facilitated the measurement of the thermodynamics governing binding reactions, interpretation of these parameters in structural terms is still a major challenge.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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