Conformational kinetics reveals affinities of protein conformational states.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Most biological reactions rely on interplay between binding and changes in both macromolecular structure and dynamics. Practical understanding of this interplay requires detection of critical intermediates and determination of their binding and conformational characteristics. However, many of these species are only transiently present and they have often been overlooked in mechanistic studies of reactions that couple binding to conformational change. We monitored the kinetics of ligand-induced conformational changes in a small protein using six different ligands. We analyzed the kinetic data to simultaneously determine both binding affinities for the conformational states and the rate constants of conformational change. The approach we used is sufficiently robust to determine the affinities of three conformational states and detect even modest differences in the protein's affinities for relatively similar ligands. Ligand binding favors higher-affinity conformational states by increasing forward conformational rate constants and/or decreasing reverse conformational rate constants. The amounts by which forward rate constants increase and reverse rate constants decrease are proportional to the ratio of affinities of the conformational states. We also show that both the affinity ratio and another parameter, which quantifies the changes in conformational rate constants upon ligand binding, are strong determinants of the mechanism (conformational selection and/or induced fit) of molecular recognition. Our results highlight the utility of analyzing the kinetics of conformational changes to determine affinities that cannot be determined from equilibrium experiments. Most importantly, they demonstrate an inextricable link between conformational dynamics and the binding affinities of conformational states.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Daniels, KG; Suo, Y; Oas, TG

Published Date

  • July 28, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 112 / 30

Start / End Page

  • 9352 - 9357

PubMed ID

  • 26162682

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4522757

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1091-6490

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1073/pnas.1502084112


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States