International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Vol.16, No.4, 7261-7272, 2015
Glycolic Acid-Catalyzed Deamidation of Asparagine Residues in Degrading PLGA Matrices: A Computational Study
Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) is a strong candidate for being a drug carrier in drug delivery systems because of its biocompatibility and biodegradability. However, in degrading PLGA matrices, the encapsulated peptide and protein drugs can undergo various degradation reactions, including deamidation at asparagine (Asn) residues to give a succinimide species, which may affect their potency and/or safety. Here, we show computationally that glycolic acid (GA) in its undissociated form, which can exist in high concentration in degrading PLGA matrices, can catalyze the succinimide formation from Asn residues by acting as a proton-transfer mediator. A two-step mechanism was studied by quantum-chemical calculations using Ace-Asn-Nme (Ace = acetyl, Nme = NHCH3) as a model compound. The first step is cyclization (intramolecular addition) to form a tetrahedral intermediate, and the second step is elimination of ammonia from the intermediate. Both steps involve an extensive bond reorganization mediated by a GA molecule, and the first step was predicted to be rate-determining. The present findings are expected to be useful in the design of more effective and safe PLGA devices.