Allosteric modulation of anti-HIV drug and ferric heme binding to human serum albumin

Alessio Bocedi, Stefania Notari, Enea Menegatti, Gabriella Fanali, Mauro Fasano, Paolo Ascenzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Human serum albumin (HSA), the most prominent protein in plasma, is best known for its exceptional capacity to bind ligands (e.g. heme and drugs). Here, binding of the anti-HIV drugs abacavir, atazanavir, didanosine, efavirenz, emtricitabine, lamivudine, nelfinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir, saquinavir, stavudine, and zidovudine to HSA and ferric heme-HSA is reported. Ferric heme binding to HSA in the absence and presence of anti-HIV drugs was also investigated. The association equilibrium constant and second-order rate constant for the binding of anti-HIV drugs to Sudlow's site I of ferric heme-HSA are lower by one order of magnitude than those for the binding of anti-HIV drugs to HSA. Accordingly, the association equilibrium constant and the second-order rate constant for heme binding to HSA are decreased by one order of magnitude in the presence of anti-HIV drugs. In contrast, the first-order rate constant for ligand dissociation from HSA is insensitive to anti-HIV drugs and ferric heme. These findings represent clear-cut evidence for the allosteric inhibition of anti-HIV drug binding to HSA by the heme. In turn, anti-HIV drugs allosterically impair heme binding to HSA. Therefore, Sudlow's site I and the heme cleft must be functionally linked.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6287-6296
Number of pages10
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • Allostery
  • Anti-HIV drugs
  • Ferric heme
  • Human serum albumin
  • Ligand binding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Allosteric modulation of anti-HIV drug and ferric heme binding to human serum albumin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this