Calculation of cyclodextrin binding affinities: energy, entropy, and implications for drug design.
Molecular dynamics simulations were performed to obtain information about the conformational behaviour and stabilization of alpha-cyclodextrin (alpha CD) complexes in water. Simulations of p-chlorophenol and p-hydroxybenzoic acid in alpha CD showed that the complex is a very flexible system. The guest compound rotates inside the cavity and partly moves in and out. alpha CD continuously adapts its conformation to the orientation of the guest compound (or vice versa): the hexagon of the glycosidic oxygen atoms is stretched parallel to the plane of the aromatic ring of the guest compound during 80% of the simulation. This suggests that Van der Waals interactions play an important role in the stabilization of the complex. Each intramolecular hydrogen bond between neighbouring glucose units is formed during 30-80% of the simulation. Hydrogen bonds between alpha CD and the guest compound, on the other hand, are rarely formed. Thus, intermolecular hydrogen bonding seems to play a minor role in the stabilization of alpha CD complexes.