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Org Biomol Chem. 2012 May 7;10(17):3424-31. doi: 10.1039/c2ob25237f. Epub 2012 Mar 21.

Characterization of hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives binding to bovine serum albumin.

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State Key Laboratory of Applied Organic Chemistry, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China.


Hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives (HCAs) are a group of naturally occurring polyphenolic compounds which possess various pharmacological activities. In this work, the interactions of bovine serum albumin (BSA) with six HCA derivatives, including chlorogenic acid (CHA), caffeic acid (CFA), m-coumaric acid (m-CA), p-coumaric acid (p-CA), ferulic acid (FA) and sinapic acid (SA) have been investigated by NMR spectroscopic techniques in combination with fluorescence and molecular modeling methods. Competitive STD NMR experiments using warfarin sodium and L-tryptophan as site-selective probes indicated that HCAs bind to site I in the subdomain IIA of BSA. From the analysis of the STD NMR-derived binding epitopes and molecular docking models, it was deduced that CHA, CFA, m-CA and p-CA show similar binding modes and orientation, in which the phenyl ring is in close contact with protein surface, whereas carboxyl group points out of the protein. However, FA and SA showed slightly different binding modes, due to the steric hindrance of methoxy-substituents on the phenyl ring. Relaxation experiments provided detailed information about the relationship between the affinity and structure of HCAs. The binding affinity was the strongest for CHA and ranked in the order CHA > CFA > m-CA ≥ p-CA > FA > SA, which agreed well with the results from fluorescence experiments. Based on our experimental results, we also conclude that HCAs bind to BSA mainly by hydrophobic interaction and hydrogen bonding. This study therefore provides valuable information for elucidating the mechanisms of BSA-HCAs interaction.

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