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Flavour compounds affect protein structure: The effect of methyl anthranilate on bovine serum albumin conformation

Dinu, Vlad; Borah, Pallab Kumar; Muleya, Molly; Scott, David J.; Lithgo, Ryan; Pattem, Jacob; Harding, Stephen E.; Yakubov, Gleb E.; Fisk, Ian D.


Research Fellow

Pallab Kumar Borah

Associate Professor & Reader in Physical Biochemistry

Ryan Lithgo

Jacob Pattem


This study aims to understand possible effects of flavour compounds on the structure and conformation of endogenous proteins. Using methyl anthranilate (a grape flavour compound added to drinks, confectionery, and vape-liquids) and bovine serum albumin (BSA, a model serum protein) we designed experimental investigations using analytical ultracentrifugation, size exclusion chromatography small angle X-ray scattering, and fluorescence spectroscopy to reveal that methyl anthranilate spontaneously binds to BSA (ΔG°, ca. −21 KJ mol−1) which induces a conformational compactness (ca. 10 %) in the monomer structure. Complementary molecular modelling and dynamics simulations suggested the binding occurs at Sudlow II of BSA via establishment of hydrogen bonds with arginine409, lysine413 and serine488 leading to an increased conformational order in domains IA, IIB and IIIB. This work aims to set the foundation for future research on flavour-protein interactions and offer new sets of opportunities for understanding the effects of small compounds on protein structure.


Dinu, V., Borah, P. K., Muleya, M., Scott, D. J., Lithgo, R., Pattem, J., …Fisk, I. D. (2022). Flavour compounds affect protein structure: The effect of methyl anthranilate on bovine serum albumin conformation. Food Chemistry, 388, Article 133013.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 17, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 26, 2022
Publication Date Sep 15, 2022
Deposit Date May 23, 2022
Journal Food Chemistry
Print ISSN 0308-8146
Electronic ISSN 1873-7072
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 388
Article Number 133013
Keywords General Medicine; Food Science; Analytical Chemistry
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