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Initial stage of cheese production: a molecular modeling study of bovine and camel chymosin complexed with peptides from the chymosin-sensitive region of kappa-casein

Sørensen, J. and Palmer, D. S. and Qvist, K. B. and Schiøtt, B. (2011) Initial stage of cheese production: a molecular modeling study of bovine and camel chymosin complexed with peptides from the chymosin-sensitive region of kappa-casein. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 59 (10). pp. 5636-5647.

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Abstract

Bovine chymosin has long been the preferred enzyme used to coagulate cow's milk, in the initial stage of cheese production, during which it cleaves a specific bond in the milk protein kappa-casein. Recently, camel chymosin has been shown to have a 70% higher clotting activity toward cow's milk and, moreover, to cleave kappa-casein more selectively. Bovine chymosin, on the other hand, is a poor clotting agent toward camel's milk. This paper reports a molecular modeling study aimed at understanding this disparity, based on homology modeling and molecular dynamics simulations using peptide fragments of kappa-casein from cow and camel in both bovine and camel chymosin. The results show that the complex between bovine chymosin and the fragment of camel kappa-casein is indeed less stable in the binding pocket. The results also indicate that this in part may be due to charge repulsion between a lysine residue in bovine chymosin and an arginine residue in the P4 position of camel kappa-casein.