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The Molecular Origin of Enthalpy/Entropy Compensation in Biomolecular Recognition

preprint
submitted on 30.11.2017 and posted on 01.12.2017 by Jerome M. Fox, Mengxia Zhao, Michael J. Fink, Kyungtae Kang, George M. Whitesides
Biomolecular recognition can be stubborn; changes in the structures of associating molecules, or the environments in which they associate, often yield compensating changes in enthalpies and entropies of binding, and no net change in affinities. This phenomenon—termed enthalpy/entropy (H/S) compensation—hinders efforts in biomolecular design, and its incidence—often a surprise to experimentalists—makes interactions between biomolecules difficult to predict. Although characterizing H/S compensation requires experimental care, it is unquestionably a real phenomenon that has, from an engineering perspective, useful physical origins. Studying H/S compensation can help illuminate the still-murky roles of water and dynamics in biomolecular recognition and self-assembly. This review summarizes known sources of H/S compensation (real and perceived) and lays out a conceptual framework for understanding and dissecting—and, perhaps, avoiding or exploiting—this phenomenon in biophysical systems.

Funding

John Templeton Foundation (grant # 43423), Austrian Science Fund FWF (grant # J3771-N28), National Research Foundation of Korea (grant # 2016R1C1B2011414), National Science Foundation (grant # CHE-1152196)

History

Topic

  • Biophysical Chemistry
  • Statistical Mechanics
  • Structure
  • Thermodynamics (Physical Chem.)

Email Address of Submitting Author

michael@finkchemistry.com

Email Address(es) for Other Author(s)

jerome.fox@colorado.edu, mzhao@gmwgroup.harvard.edu, kkang@khu.ac.kr, gwhitesides@gmwgroup.harvard.edu

Institution

Harvard University

Country

United States

ORCID For Submitting Author

0000-0003-0023-8767

Declaration of Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest.

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