Probing the local conformational flexibility in receptor recognition: mechanistic insight from an atomic-scale investigation†
Inherent protein conformational flexibility is important for biomolecular recognition, but this critical property is often neglected in several studies. This event can lead to large deviations in the research results. In the current contribution, we disclose the effects of the local conformational flexibility on receptor recognition by using an atomic-scale computational method. The results indicated that both static and dynamic reaction modes have noticeable differences, and these originated from the structural features of the protein molecules. Dynamic interaction results displayed that the structural stability and conformational flexibility of the proteins had a significant influence on the recognition processes. This point related closely to the characteristics of the flexible loop regions where bixin located within the protein structures. The energy decomposition analyses and circular dichroism results validated the rationality of the recognition studies. More importantly, the conformational and energy changes of some residues around the bixin binding domain were found to be vital to biological reactions. These microscopic findings clarified the nature of the phenomenon that the local conformational flexibility could intervene in receptor recognition. Obviously, this report may provide biophysical evidence for the exploration of the structure–function relationships of the biological receptors in the human body.