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Multivalency by Bart Jan Ravoo, Rainer Haag, Leonard J. Prins, Jurriaan Huskens

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4Multivalency in Biosystems

Jens Dernedde

Institute of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Chemistry, and Pathobiochemistry, Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 13353, Berlin, Germany

4.1 Introduction

Multivalency is the action of multiple recognition of the same type occurring simultaneously between two entities. This concept is a common principle to increase the affinity and specificity of ligand–receptor interactions in nature and results in a cooperative, over‐additive enhancement of binding affinity [1,2]. In biosystems mostly low affinity binders are clustered to achieve the required binding strength. From the evolutionary point of view, it seems to be convenient to merge multiple single low affinity interactions to generate a collectively stronger output. This strategy avoids the tedious de novo protein design and resorts to already existing interaction networks. Furthermore, a tunable multivalent receptor–ligand interaction allows for a graded response to biological signals.

Based on pioneering work from the disciplines of chemistry and biochemistry reviewed by Mammen et al. [1] and Fasting et al. [3] great progress has been achieved to describe multivalent effects in recent years, mainly from the perspective of synthetic chemistry. Nevertheless, our current understanding is still fragmentary. Novel concepts include highly interdisciplinary research to unravel the impact of multivalent molecular recognition in biological systems and to comprehend diverse complex tasks such ...

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