Tannins belong to secondary metabolites of plants that exhibit a variety of biological activities, including antiviral one. In this research, we studied the interaction of human serum albumin (HSA) with two ellagitannins: 2,4-valoneoyl-3,6-hexahydroxydiphenoyl-β-d-glucose (T1) and 1,2-di-O-galloyl-3,6-valoneoyl-β-d-glucose (T2) from Euphorbia species having antiviral potential against HIV and differing in molecular flexibility due to the presence of valoneoyl- and hexahydroxydiphenoyl groups. A fluorescence analysis demonstrated that the tannins studied strongly interacted with HSA and quenched tryptophan (Trp) fluorescence in the range of 0.25-4 μM. The quenching occurred by a static mechanism. The logK for more flexible T2 was generally higher in comparison with stiffer T1 (4.94 ± 0.82 vs. 4.12 ± 0.31 and 4.94 ± 0.53 vs. 4.07 ± 0.45 for 296 K and 303 K respectively). The difference was also in the nature of the forces participating in the interaction with HSA. The stiff T1 reacted with HSA via hydrophobic forces, whereas the flexible T2 interacted with the protein by van der Waals forces and hydrogen bonds. The nature of the bonds was also confirmed by a study of the hydrophobicity of the compounds. Zeta-potential measurements showed slightly modifications of albumin electric charge but without significant changes in the surface structure of protein. Surface Plasmon Resonance imaging (SPRi) revealed that the used tannins fully saturated a 3 ng/mL solution of albumin at the concentrations of above 15 ng/mL. Our experiments clearly showed that the tannins used formed complexes with HSA and that the flexibility of the tannins was an important factor determining their interaction with the protein.
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