Antibody Structure Problem Set
Problem 7. Weak forces/ strong binding
The interaction between an antigen and antibody can be very strong, and yet all of the
forces involved are considered to be relatively weak. How can weak hydrogen bonds, electrostatic attractions, hydrophobic forces, and van der Waals contacts lead to a high affinity?
|| Weak attractions lead to the formation of covalent bonds.
|| Since the antigen is contacted by the antibody over a very
limited surface area, several weak forces can form a strong attraction.
Contact between antigen and antibody occurs over a wide surface
area, allowing multiple weak interactions that give a strong affinity.
Hydrogen bonds join the antibody and antigen over a wide
surface area. Other weak forces, including van der Waals forces, electrostatic
attractions and hydrophobic forces, add to the strength and specificity of antibody/antigen
The Biology Project
The University of Arizona
Tuesday, June 20, 2000
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