Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(1):75-87. doi:10.7150/ijbs.9872 This issue

Research Paper

Ligands Binding and Molecular Simulation: the Potential Investigation of a Biosensor Based on an Insect Odorant Binding Protein

Xin Yi, Yanbo Zhang, Peidan Wang, Jiangwei Qi, Meiying Hu, Guohua Zhong

Laboratory of Insect Toxicology, Key Laboratory of Pesticide and Chemical Biology, Ministry of Education, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China.

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Yi X, Zhang Y, Wang P, Qi J, Hu M, Zhong G. Ligands Binding and Molecular Simulation: the Potential Investigation of a Biosensor Based on an Insect Odorant Binding Protein. Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(1):75-87. doi:10.7150/ijbs.9872. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Based on mimicking biological olfaction, biosensors have been applied for the detection of various ligands in complex environment, which could represent one of the most promising research fields. In this study, the basic characters of one insect odorant binding protein (OBP) as a biosensor were explored. To explore the molecular recognition process, the tertiary structure of the protein was modeled and the protein-ligand interactions with 1,536,550 chemicals were investigated by the molecular docking. The availability of large amount of recombinant SlitOBP1 overcame the difficulty to obtain biological sensing material. After obtained the purified recombinant protein, the result of fluorescence binding assays proved the candidate protein has good affinities with the majority of the tested chemicals. With the aid of simulation docking, the key conserved amino acids within the binding site were identified and then mutated to alanine. After mutation, the protein-ligand binding characteristics were recorded, and the competitive binding assays were carried out to provide experimental verification. The detailed information on its structure and affinities investigated in this study could allow the design of specific mutants with desired characteristics, which provides a solid base for tailoring OBP for biosensor and provides a role model for screening the other elements in olfactory system for different applications.

Keywords: Odorant binding protein, Biosensors, Molecular simulation, Fluorescence binding, Site-directed mutagenesis.