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The thermodynamics of the interaction of two pharmaceutically important isoquinoline alkaloids berberine and palmatine with bovine and human serum albumin was investigated using calorimetric techniques, and the data was supplemented with fluorescence and circular dichroism studies. Thermodynamic results revealed that there was only one class of binding sites for both alkaloids on BSA and HSA. The equilibrium constant was of the order of 10(4) M(-1) for both the alkaloids to serum albumins but the magnitude was slightly higher with HSA. Berberine showed higher affinity over palmatine to both proteins. The binding was enthalpy dominated and entropy favoured for both the alkaloids to BSA and HSA. Salt dependent studies suggested that electrostatic interaction had a significant role in the binding process, the binding affinity reduced as the salt concentration increased. Temperature dependent calorimetric data yielded heat capacity values that suggested the involvement of different molecular forces in the complexation of the two alkaloids with BSA and HSA. 3D fluorescence, synchronous fluorescence and circular dichroism data suggested that the binding of the alkaloids changed the conformation of proteins by reducing their helicity. Destabilization of the protein conformation was also revealed from differential scanning calorimetry studies. Overall, the alkaloids bound strongly to serum albumins, but berberine was a better binder to both serum proteins compared to palmatine.

Citation

Asma Yasmeen Khan, Maidul Hossain, Gopinatha Suresh Kumar. Binding of plant alkaloids berberine and palmatine to serum albumins: a thermodynamic investigation. Molecular biology reports. 2013 Jan;40(1):553-66

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PMID: 23065224

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