Getting a Firm Grip

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Science  03 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5493, pp. 903
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5493.903b

The all-carbon molecule C60 (fullerene) would seem to offer little in the way of a handhold through which specific recognition could be achieved. Nevertheless, Braden et al. have extended earlier work and now describe the crystal structure of a monoclonal anti-C60 antibody. The predicted binding site is lined mostly with uncharged aromatic residues, which may grab onto the fullerene via π-system stacking interactions. The primary contribution to binding may arise from the precise fit; relaxation of the side chain conformations seen in the crystal is needed to squeeze the 1-nanometer fullerene through a 0.4-nm portal into the binding pocket. Subsequent study of this complex and others between biological macromolecules and carbon-based materials will serve to augment the toolkit of nanotechnology with the capacity for stereospecific recognition. — GJC

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 97, 12193 (2000).

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