Efficient design of antibodies as therapeutic agents requires understanding of their structure and behavior in solution. I have recently performed molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the flexibility and solution dynamics of complementarity determining regions (CDRs). Eight structures of the Fv region of antibody SPE7 were found in the Protein Data Bank with identical sequences. Twenty-five replicas of 100 ns simulations were performed on the Fvregion of one of these structures to investigate whether the CDRs adopted the conformation of one of the other X-Ray structures. The simulations showed the H3 and L3 loops start from one conformation and adopt another experimentally determined conformation.
This confirms the potential of molecular dynamics to be used to investigate antibody binding and flexibility. Further investigation would involve simulating different systems, for example using solution NMR resolved structures, and comparing the conformations deduced here to the canonical forms of CDR loops. Looking forward it is hoped molecular dynamics could be used to predict the bound conformation of an antibody from the unbound structure.