Molecular recognition is a fundamental event at the core of essentially every biological process. In particular, intermolecular H-bonds have been recognized as key stabilizing forces in antibodyantigen interactions resulting in exquisite specificity and high affinity. Although equally abundant, the role of intramolecular H-bonds is far less clear and not universally acknowledged. Herein, we have carried out a molecular-level study to dissect the contribution of intramolecular H-bonds in a flexible peptide for the recognition by an antibody. We show that intramolecular H-bonds may have a profound, multifaceted and favorable effect on the binding affinity by up to 2 kcal mol1 of free energy. Collectively, our results suggest that antibodies are fine tuned to recognize transiently stabilized structures of flexible peptides in solution, for which intramolecular H-bonds play a key role.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology