Apr 15, 1992

Kinetics of protein-protein association explained by Brownian dynamics computer simulation

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
S H Northrup, H P Erickson


Protein-protein bond formations, such as antibody-antigen complexation or aggregation of protein monomers into dimers and larger aggregates, occur with bimolecular rate constants on the order of 10(6) M-1.s-1, which is only 3 orders of magnitude slower than the diffusion-limited Smoluchowski rate. However, since the protein-protein bond requires rotational alignment to within a few angstroms of tolerance, purely geometric estimates would suggest that the observed rates might be 6 orders of magnitude below the Smoluchowski rate. Previous theoretical treatments have not been solved for the highly specific docking criteria of protein-protein association--the entire subunit interface must be aligned within 2 A of the correct position. Several studies have suggested that diffusion alone could not produce the rapid association kinetics and have postulated "lengthy collisions" and/or the operation of electrostatic or hydrophobic steering forces to accelerate the association. In the present study, the Brownian dynamics simulation method is used to compute the rate of association of neutral spherical model proteins with the stated docking criteria. The Brownian simulation predicts a rate of 2 x 10(6) M-1.s-1 for this generic protein-pro...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Plasma Protein Binding Capacity
Protein Conformation
In Silico

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