Characterization of interaction between scoparone and bovine serum albumin: spectroscopic and molecular docking methods
Scoparone is a major biological active substance derived from the traditional Chinese herbal medicine called Artemisia capillaris. It has been confirmed that scoparone has anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, hepatoprotective and antioxidant effects. However, the binding interaction of scoparone with bovine serum albumin (BSA) still remains unknown. Therefore, the present study was conducted to clarify the binding interaction of scoparone with BSA under simulated physiological conditions (pH = 7.4) by utilizing spectroscopic and molecular docking methods. The formation of the scoparone–BSA complex was identified by UV-vis absorption spectroscopy experiment results. The fluorescence experiment results revealed that the quenching mechanism was static quenching and the binding procedure was spontaneous mainly driven by hydrophobic interaction. At 310 K, the number of binding sites was approximately equal to 1 and the binding constant was 6.79 × 105 mol L−1. The binding distance (4.81 nm) between scoparone and BSA was determined by Förster's non-radiative energy transfer theory. Molecular docking and site marker competitive experiment results verified that scoparone was more likely to be located in site I of BSA. In addition, the results of synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy and circular dichroism spectroscopy experiments proved that scoparone slightly changed the conformation of BSA by binding interaction with BSA. These findings would be useful for understanding the pharmacokinetics of scoparone in vivo, including scoparone transport, distribution, metabolism and excretion.