The change in the vibrational density of states of a protein (dihydrofolate reductase) on binding a ligand (methotrexate) is determined using inelastic neutron scattering. The vibrations of the complex soften significantly relative to the unbound protein. The resulting free-energy change, which is directly determined by the density of states change, is found to contribute significantly to the binding equilibrium.
- Received 18 September 2003
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