Differential scanning calorimetry in life science: Thermodynamics, stability, molecular recognition and application in drug design

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

All biological phenomena depend on molecular recognition, which is either intermolecular like in ligand binding to a macromolecule or intramolecular like in protein folding. As a result, understanding the relationship between the structure of proteins and the energetics of their stability and binding with others (bio)molecules is a very interesting point in biochemistry and biotechnology. It is essential to the engineering of stable proteins and to the structure-based design of pharmaceutical ligands. The parameter generally used to characterize the stability of a system (the folded and unfolded state of the protein for example) is the equilibrium constant (K) or the free energy (ΔG°), which is the sum of enthalpic (ΔH°) and entropic (ΔS°) terms. These parameters are temperature dependent through the heat capacity change (ΔCp). The thermodynamic parameters ΔH° and ΔCp can be derived from spectroscopic experiments, using the van't Hoff method, or measured directly using calorimetry. Along with isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) is a powerful method, less described than ITC, for measuring directly the thermodynamic parameters which charaterize biomolecules. In this article, we summarize the principal thermodynamics parameters, describe the DSC approach and review some systems to which it has been applied. DSC is much used for the study of the stability and the folding of biomolecules, but it can also be applied in order to understand biomolecular interactions and can thus be an interesting technique in the process of drug design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2011-2020
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Medicinal Chemistry
Volume12
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2005

Keywords

  • ΔCp
  • ΔH°
  • Binding
  • Calorimetry
  • DSC
  • Stability
  • Thermodynamics

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