Molecular immunology

Cocrystallization of an immunoglobulin light chain dimer with bis(dinitrophenyl) lysine: tandem binding of two ligands, one with and one without accompanying conformational changes in the protein.

PMID 2495436


Previous studies showed that the Mcg dimer of immunoglobulin light chains bound bis(dinitrophenyl)lysine both in trigonal crystals and in solution. On prolonged storage in ammonium sulfate, mixtures of ligand and protein produced small trigonal cocrystals in low frequency. These crystals were nearly isomorphous with those of the unliganded dimer in which the subunits were covalently linked by an interchain disulfide bond. By difference Fourier analyses at 3.5 A resolution and subsequent crystallographic refinement, the cocrystals were found to contain molecules with two ligands aligned in tandem along the interface of the variable (V) domains of the protein. One ligand molecule adopted an almost fully extended conformation, with the epsilon-DNP ring situated near the floor, the alpha-carboxyl group directed toward the solvent at the entry, and the alpha-DNP ring outside the rim of the main cavity. As if architecturally designed, the ligand was located symmetrically between the two domains in an orientation that was compatible with both the unaltered structure of the cavity lining and with the known crystal packing interactions of neighboring protein molecules. The second ligand molecule in the cocrystal lodged in the deep pocket immediately under the floor of the main cavity. The ligand adopted a very compact conformation with the two DNP rings roughly antiparallel to each other. This molecule appeared to be semi-permanently sequestered in the pocket since it could not be dislodged by exhaustive perfusion with ammonium sulfate crystallizing media. Relative to its volume in the native dimer, the pocket was expanded to accommodate the oversized ligand. Within a single protein molecule, therefore, two types of binding of a flexible ligand were observed, one with and one without accompanying conformational changes in the protein. The number of cocrystals which could be produced was markedly increased if the interchain disulfide bond between the Mcg monomers was first reduced and alkylated.

Related Materials

Product #



Molecular Formula

Add to Cart

Nε-DNP-L-lysine hydrochloride
C12H16N4O6 · HCl