A “Release” Protocol for Isothermal Titration Calorimetry
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Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) has become a standard method for investigating the binding of ligands to receptor molecules or the partitioning of solutes between water and lipid vesicles. Accordingly, solutes are mixed with membranes (or ligands with receptors), and the subsequent heats of incorporation (or binding) are measured. In this paper we derive a general formula for modeling ITC titration heats in both binding and partitioning systems that allows for the modeling of the classic incorporation or binding protocols, as well as of new protocols assessing the release of solute from previously solute-loaded vesicles (or the dissociation of ligand/receptor complexes) upon dilution. One major advantage of a simultaneous application of the incorporation/binding and release protocols is that it allows for the determination of whether a ligand is able to access the vesicle interior within the time scale of the ITC experiment. This information cannot be obtained from a classical partitioning experiment, but it must be known to determine the partition coefficient (or binding constant and stochiometry) and the transfer enthalpy. The approach is presented using the partitioning of the nonionic detergent C12EO7 to palmitoyloleoylphosphatidylcholine vesicles. The release protocol could also be advantageous in the case of receptors that are more stable in the ligand-saturated rather than the ligand-depleted state.
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