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Question: The binding of the fatty acid, lauric acid (shown below), to a protein in your blood which

carries different lipids such as fatty acids to different parts of your body, is proposed to involve electrostatic interaction with the carboxylate. You test this concept and collect the following data.


Molecule to be tested for binding to protein                       Kd (dissociation constant)

Lauric acid (dodecanoic acid)                       10-8 M

Dodecanol                                                         10-3 M

Dodecane                                                      no detectable binding

What can you conclude from this data in the context of the proposed explanation?

Electrostatic interactions typically provide 3-4 Kcal/mole of binding energy. Given what you know about the interior of proteins, how can you reconcile the collected data with these typical binding energetics?

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