Computational Study of the Binding Modes of Caffeine to the Adenosine A2AReceptor Journal Articles uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • Using the recently solved crystal structure of the human adenosine A(2A) receptor, we applied MM/PBSA to compare the binding modes of caffeine with those of the high-affinity selective antagonist ZM241385. MD simulations were performed in the environment of the lipid membrane bilayer. Four low-energy binding modes of caffeine-A(2A) were found, all of which had similar energies. Assuming an equal contribution of each binding mode of caffeine, the computed binding free energy difference between caffeine and ZM241385 is -2.4 kcal/mol, which compares favorably with the experimental value, -3.6 kcal/mol. The configurational entropy contribution of -0.9 kcal/mol from multiple binding modes of caffeine helps explain how a small molecule like caffeine can compete with a significantly larger molecule, ZM241385, which can form many more interactions with the receptor. We also performed residue-wise energy decomposition and found that Phe168, Leu249, and Ile274 contribute most significantly to the binding modes of caffeine and ZM241385.


  • Liu, Yuli
  • Burger, Steven K
  • Ayers, Paul
  • Vöhringer-Martinez, Esteban

publication date

  • December 1, 2011