Investigating Polyoxometalate-Protein Interactions at Chemically Distinct Binding Sites

Thomas J. Paul, Tatjana N. Parac-Vogt, David Quiñonero, Rajeev Prabhakar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In this study, a combined molecular docking (rigid and flexible) and all-atom molecular dynamics simulations technique have been employed to investigate interactions of 1:1 Zr-containing Keggin polyoxometalate (ZrK) with four chemically distinct cleavage sites [Arg114-Leu115 (site 1), Ala257-Asp258 (site 2), Lys313-Asp314 (site 3), and Cys392-Glu393 (site 4)] of human serum albumin (HSA). The ZrK-HSA complexations were analyzed using electrostatic potentials, the chemical nature of amino acid residues, binding free energies, and secondary structures as parameters. They suggested that ZrK binds in a rather distinct manner to different cleavage sites, and its association was dominated by hydrogen bonding, both direct and solvent mediated, and electrostatic interactions, as suggested experimentally. The computed binding free interaction energies (-57.5, -24.2, -50.8, and -91.2 kJ/mol for sites 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively) predicted the existence of one major binding site (site 4) and three minor binding sites (site 1, site 2, and site 3). The strong exothermicity of the binding was also supported by isothermal calorimetry experiments. Additionally, the binding of ZrK did not alter the overall α-helical secondary structure of HSA, which was in line with experimental observation. Furthermore, hydrolysis of the peptide bonds of the substrate was found to retain its overall structure. These results have provided a deeper understanding of the complex ZrK interactions with proteins, and they will lead to the design of the next generation of catalytically active polyoxometalates with improved hydrolytic activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7219-7232
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jul 26 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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