Phosphate stabilization of intermolecular interactions

Shelley N. Jackson, Hay Yan J Wang, Alfred Yergey, Amina S. Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Receptor heteromerization is an important phenomenon that results from the interaction of epitopes on two receptors. Previous studies have suggested the possibility of Dopamine D2-NMDA receptors' interaction. We believe that the interaction is through an acidic epitope of the NMDA NR1 subunit (KVNSEEEEEDA) and a basic epitope of the D2 third intracellular loop (VLRRRRKRVN), which was shown to also interact with the Adenosine A2A receptor. In previous work, we highlighted the role of certain amino acid residues, mainly two or more adjacent arginine on one peptide and two or more adjacent glutamate, or aspartate, or a phosphorylated residue on the other in the formation of noncovalent complexes (NCX) between epitopes. In the present work, we use the phosphorylated (KVNSpEEEEEDA), nonphosphorylated (KVNSEEEEEDA) and modified (KVNpSAAAAAAA) forms of the NMDA epitope that possibly interact with the D2 epitope to investigate the gas-phase stability of the NCXs as a function of the nominal energy given to the NCX ion as it enters the collision cell. In addition to theoretical calculations, the experimental data was used to calculate the stability of each electrostatic complex versus that of the dimer of KVNSpEEEEEDA. Our results demonstrate the importance of the phosphate group in stabilizing molecular interactions and that appreciably higher collision energies are required to completely dissociate any of the three different NCX ions that are formed through electrostatic interaction in comparison to the energy required to dissociate the KVNpSEEEEEDA dimer ion, which is mainly kept together by hydrogen bonding. This study emphasizes ionic bonds stability and their importance to protein structure as their potent electrostatic attractions can in the gas-phase surpass the strength of covalent bonds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-126
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Binding energies
  • Dimers
  • Electrostatic interactions
  • Guanidinium groups
  • Heteromerization
  • Phosphate groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry


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