Enthalpy versus entropy-driven binding of bisphosphonates to farnesyl diphosphate synthase

Fenglin Yin, Rong Cao, Amanda Goddard, Yonghui Zhang, Eric Oldfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the results of an ITC (isothermal titration calorimetry) investigation of the binding of six bisphosphonates to the enzyme farnesyl diphosphate synthase (FPPS; EC from Trypanosoma brucei. The bisphosphonates investigated were zoledronate, risedronate, ibandronate, pamidronate, 2-phenyl-1-hydroxyethane-1,1-bisphosphonate, and 1-(2,2-bisphosphonoethyl)-3-iodo pyridinium. At pH = 7.4, both risedronate and the phenylethane bisphosphonate bind in an enthalpy-driven manner (ΔH ∼ -9 to 10 kcal mol-1), but the other four bisphosphonates bind in an entropy-driven manner (ΔS varying from 31.2 to 55.1 cal K-1 mol-1). However, at pH = 8.5, zoledronate binding switches from entropy to enthalpy-driven. The ΔG results are highly correlated with FPPS inhibition results obtained using a radiochemical assay (R2 = 0.85, N = 11, P < 0.001). The ΔH and ΔS results are interpreted in terms of a model in which bisphosphonates with charged side chains have positive ΔH values, due to the enthalpic cost of desolvation (due to strong ion-dipole interactions) and, likewise, a positive ΔS, due to an increase in water entropy (both ligand and protein associated) on ligand binding to FPPS: the hydrophobic effect. For the neutral side chains (risedronate at pH 7.4, 8.5 and zoledronate at pH 8.5, as well as the phenylethane bisphosphonate), binding is overwhelmingly enthalpy-driven, with the enhanced activity of the basic side chain containing species being attributable to their becoming protonated in the active site. Given the large size of the bisphosphonate market and the potential importance of the development of these compounds for cancer immunotherapy and anti-parasitic chemotherapy, these results are of broad general interest in the context of the development of new, potent, and selective FPPS inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3524-3525
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 22 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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