Table of Contents
Journal of Biophysics
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 642745, 7 pages
Research Article

A Molecular Dynamics Approach to Ligand-Receptor Interaction in the Aspirin-Human Serum Albumin Complex

Instituto de Física de Líquidos y Sistemas Biológicos (IFLYSIB), CONICET y Departamento de Ciencias Biológicas, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, 49-789, cc 565, B1900BTE La Plata, Argentina

Received 5 July 2012; Revised 14 September 2012; Accepted 29 September 2012

Academic Editor: Claudio M. Soares

Copyright © 2012 H. Ariel Alvarez et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In this work, we present a study of the interaction between human serum albumin (HSA) and acetylsalicylic acid (ASA, C9H8O4) by molecular dynamics simulations (MD). Starting from an experimentally resolved structure of the complex, we performed the extraction of the ligand by means of the application of an external force. After stabilization of the system, we quantified the force used to remove the ASA from its specific site of binding to HSA and calculated the mechanical nonequilibrium external work done during this process. We obtain a reasonable value for the upper boundary of the Gibbs free energy difference (an equilibrium thermodynamic potential) between the complexed and noncomplexed states. To achieve this goal, we used the finite sampling estimator of the average work, calculated from the Jarzynski Equality. To evaluate the effect of the solvent, we calculated the so-called “viscous work,” that is, the work done to move the aspirin in the same trajectory through the solvent in absence of the protein, so as to assess the relevance of its contribution to the total work. The results are in good agreement with the available experimental data for the albumin affinity constant for aspirin, obtained through quenching fluorescence methods.