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Biochemistry. 2011 May 31;50(21):4590-6. doi: 10.1021/bi2004069. Epub 2011 May 6.

Thermodynamic compensation upon binding to exosite 1 and the active site of thrombin.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0378, USA.


Several lines of experimental evidence including amide exchange and NMR suggest that ligands binding to thrombin cause reduced backbone dynamics. Binding of the covalent inhibitor dPhe-Pro-Arg chloromethyl ketone to the active site serine, as well as noncovalent binding of a fragment of the regulatory protein, thrombomodulin, to exosite 1 on the back side of the thrombin molecule both cause reduced dynamics. However, the reduced dynamics do not appear to be accompanied by significant conformational changes. In addition, binding of ligands to the active site does not change the affinity of thrombomodulin fragments binding to exosite 1; however, the thermodynamic coupling between exosite 1 and the active site has not been fully explored. We present isothermal titration calorimetry experiments that probe changes in enthalpy and entropy upon formation of binary ligand complexes. The approach relies on stringent thrombin preparation methods and on the use of dansyl-l-arginine-(3-methyl-1,5-pantanediyl)amide and a DNA aptamer as ligands with ideal thermodynamic signatures for binding to the active site and to exosite 1. Using this approach, the binding thermodynamic signatures of each ligand alone as well as the binding signatures of each ligand when the other binding site was occupied were measured. Different exosite 1 ligands with widely varied thermodynamic signatures cause a similar reduction in ΔH and a concomitantly lower entropy cost upon DAPA binding at the active site. The results suggest a general phenomenon of enthalpy-entropy compensation consistent with reduction of dynamics/increased folding of thrombin upon ligand binding to either the active site or exosite 1.

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