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Protein TreesJuly 21, 2005
Molecular recognition plays an important role in biological processes. In general, it involves fairly weak interactions between individual molecular fragments. However, markedly strong bonds are occasionally observed, such as those between antibodies and their antigens. One reason for this seems to be that antigens can have multiple binding sites, to which multiple antigen-binding sites in the antibody can bind at the same time. This once again demonstrates that the whole can be more than the sum of its parts; the multiple interactions are stronger than would be expected from the corresponding individual bonds. In addition, the specificity of the molecular recognition is higher. Researchers wish to use this phenomenon, known as multivalency, for the development of pharmaceuticals and targeted-imaging agents. “The idea is to attach several pharmacologically active peptides or proteins to a scaffold in order to present the target molecule with multiple binding sites, which should increase the selectivity and strength of the binding,” explains E. W. “Bert” Meijer.
Author: E. W. "Bert" Meijer, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (The Netherlands), yp.chem.tue.nl/showemp.php/176
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