Interaction of human serum albumin with short polyelectrolytes: A study by calorimetry and computer simulations


We present a comprehensive study of the interaction of human serum albumin (HSA) with poly(acrylic acid) (PAA; number average degree of polymerization: 25) in aqueous solution. The interaction of HSA with PAA is studied in dilute solution as a function of the concentration of added salt (20–100 mM) and temperature (25–37 °C). Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) is used to analyze the interaction and to determine the binding constant and related thermodynamic data. It is found that only one PAA chain is bound per HSA molecule. The free energy of binding ΔGb increases with temperature significantly. ΔGb decreases with increasing salt concentration and is dominated by entropic contributions due to the release of bound counterions. Coarse-grained Langevin computer simulations treating the counterions in an explicit manner are used to study the process of binding in detail. These simulations demonstrate that the PAA chains are bound in the Sudlow II site of HSA. Moreover, ΔGb is calculated from the simulations and found to be in very good agreement with the measured data. The simulations demonstrate clearly that the driving force of binding is the release of counterions in full agreement with the ITC-data.
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