The Role of Ligand-Ligand Interactions in Multimodal Ligand Conformational Equilibria and Surface Pattern Formation

Camille L. Bilodeau, Edmond Y. Lau, Steven M. Cramer, Shekhar Garde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Multimodal chromatography uses multiple modes of interaction such as charge, hydrophobic, or hydrogen bonding to separate proteins. Recently, we used molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to show that ligands immobilized on surfaces can interact and associate with neighboring ligands to form hydrophobic and charge patches, which may have important implications for the nature of protein-surface interactions. Here, we study interfacial systems of increasing complexity-from a single immobilized multimodal ligand to high density surfaces-to better understand how ligand behavior is affected by the presence of a surface and the presence of other ligands in the vicinity, and how this behavior scales to larger systems. We find that tethering a ligand to a surface restricts its conformations to a subset of those observed in free solution, yet the ligand maintains flexibility in the plane of the surface and can form contacts with neighboring ligands. We find that although the formation of a contact between two neighboring ligands is slightly unfavorable, three neighboring ligands exhibit a preference for the formation of a fully connected cluster. To explore how these trends in ligand association extend to a larger surface with high density of ligands, we performed coarse-grained Monte Carlo (MC) simulations of a 132-ligand surface using ligand interactions parametrized based on free energies obtained from the three-ligand MD simulations. Despite their simplicity, the coarse-grained simulations qualitatively capture the cluster size distribution of ligands observed in detailed MD simulations. Quantitative differences between the two suggest opportunities for improvements in the coarse-grained energy function for efficient predictions of cluster and pattern formations. Our approach presents a promising route to the engineering of multimodal patterns for future chromatographic resin design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9054-9063
Number of pages10
Issue number31
StatePublished - Aug 11 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'The Role of Ligand-Ligand Interactions in Multimodal Ligand Conformational Equilibria and Surface Pattern Formation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this