Quantitative analysis of protein-ligand interactions by NMR

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Protein-ligand interactions have been commonly studied through static structures of the protein-ligand complex. Recently, however, there has been increasing interest in investigating the dynamics of protein-ligand interactions both for fundamental understanding of the underlying mechanisms and for drug development. NMR is a versatile and powerful tool, especially because it provides site-specific quantitative information. NMR has widely been used to determine the dissociation constant (KD), in particular, for relatively weak interactions. The simplest NMR method is a chemical-shift titration experiment, in which the chemical-shift changes of a protein in response to ligand titration are measured. There are other quantitative NMR methods, but they mostly apply only to interactions in the fast-exchange regime. These methods derive the dissociation constant from population-averaged NMR quantities of the free and bound states of a protein or ligand. In contrast, the recent advent of new relaxation-based experiments, including R2 relaxation dispersion and ZZ-exchange, has enabled us to obtain kinetic information on protein-ligand interactions in the intermediate- and slow-exchange regimes. Based on R2 dispersion or ZZ-exchange, methods that can determine the association rate, kon, dissociation rate, koff, and KD have been developed. In these approaches, R2 dispersion or ZZ-exchange curves are measured for multiple samples with different protein and/or ligand concentration ratios, and the relaxation data are fitted to theoretical kinetic models. It is critical to choose an appropriate kinetic model, such as the two- or three-state exchange model, to derive the correct kinetic information. The R2 dispersion and ZZ-exchange methods are suitable for the analysis of protein-ligand interactions with a micromolar or sub-micromolar dissociation constant but not for very weak interactions, which are typical in very fast exchange. This contrasts with the NMR methods that are used to analyze population-averaged NMR quantities. Essentially, to apply NMR successfully, both the type of experiment and equation to fit the data must be carefully and specifically chosen for the protein-ligand interaction under analysis. In this review, we first explain the exchange regimes and kinetic models of protein-ligand interactions, and then describe the NMR methods that quantitatively analyze these specific interactions.




Furukawa, A., Konuma, T., Yanaka, S., & Sugase, K. (2016, August 1). Quantitative analysis of protein-ligand interactions by NMR. Progress in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Elsevier B.V. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnmrs.2016.02.002

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