Ligand-induced protein mobility in complexes of carbonic anhydrase II and benzenesulfonamides with oligoglycine chains

PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e57629. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057629. Epub 2013 Mar 5.


This paper describes a biophysical investigation of residual mobility in complexes of bovine carbonic anhydrase II (BCA) and para-substituted benzenesulfonamide ligands with chains of 1-5 glycine subunits, and explains the previously observed increase in entropy of binding with chain length. The reported results represent the first experimental demonstration that BCA is not the rigid, static globulin that has been typically assumed, but experiences structural fluctuations upon binding ligands. NMR studies with (15)N-labeled ligands demonstrated that the first glycine subunit of the chain binds without stabilization or destabilization by the more distal subunits, and suggested that the other glycine subunits of the chain behave similarly. These data suggest that a model based on ligand mobility in the complex cannot explain the thermodynamic data. Hydrogen/deuterium exchange studies provided a global estimate of protein mobility and revealed that the number of exchanged hydrogens of BCA was higher when the protein was bound to a ligand with five glycine subunits than when bound to a ligand with only one subunit, and suggested a trend of increasing number of exchanged hydrogens with increasing chain length of the BCA-bound ligand, across the series. These data support the idea that the glycine chain destabilizes the structure of BCA in a length-dependent manner, causing an increase in BCA mobility. This study highlights the need to consider ligand-induced mobility of even "static" proteins in studies of protein-ligand binding, including rational ligand design approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzenesulfonamides
  • Carbonic Anhydrase II / metabolism*
  • Cattle
  • Computational Biology
  • Drug Design
  • Glycine / metabolism*
  • Ligands
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Binding
  • Sulfonamides / metabolism*
  • Thermodynamics


  • Ligands
  • Sulfonamides
  • Carbonic Anhydrase II
  • Glycine