JOURNAL ARTICLE

Molecular modeling of protein A affinity chromatography

Matteo Salvalaglio, Laura Zamolo, Valentina Busini, Davide Moscatelli, Carlo Cavallotti
Journal of Chromatography. A 2009 December 11, 1216 (50): 8678-86
19423117
The properties of the complex between fragment B of Protein A and the Fc domain of IgG were investigated adopting molecular dynamics with the intent of providing useful insight that might be exploited to design mimetic ligands with properties similar to those of Protein A. Simulations were performed both for the complex in solution and supported on an agarose surface, which was modeled as an entangled structure constituted by two agarose double chains. The energetic analysis was performed by means of the molecular mechanics Poisson Boltzmann surface area (MM/PBSA), molecular mechanics generalized Born surface area (MM/GBSA), and the linear interaction energy (LIE) approaches. An alanine scan was performed to determine the relative contribution of Protein A key amino acids to the complex interaction energy. It was found that three amino acids play a dominant role: Gln 129, Phe 132 and Lys 154, though also four other residues, Tyr 133, Leu 136, Glu 143 and Gln 151 contribute significantly to the overall binding energy. A successive molecular dynamics analysis of Protein A re-organization performed when it is not in complex with IgG has however shown that Phe 132 and Tyr 133 interact among themselves establishing a significant pi-pi interaction, which is disrupted upon formation of the complex with IgG and thus reduces consistently their contribution to the protein-antibody bond. The effect that adsorbing fragment B of Protein A on an agarose support has on the stability of the protein-antibody bond was investigated using a minimal molecular model and compared to a similar study performed for a synthetic ligand. It was found that the interaction with the surface does not hinder significantly the capability of Protein A to interact with IgG, while it is crucial for the synthetic ligand. These results indicate that ligand-surface interactions should be considered in the design of new synthetic affinity ligands in order to achieve results comparable to those of Protein A right from the ligand design stage.

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