Human serum albumin (HSA) is a monomeric, globular, multi-carrier and the most abundant protein in the blood. HSA displays multiple ligand binding sites with extraordinary binding capacity for a wide range of ions and molecules. For decades, HSA's ability to bind to various ligands has led many scientists to study its physiological properties and protein structure; indeed, a better understanding of HSA-ligand interactions in human blood, at the atomic level, will likely foster the development of more potent, and overall more performant, diagnostic and therapeutic tools against serious human disorders such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and cancer. Here, we present a concise overview of the current knowledge of HSA's structural characteristics, and its coordination chemistry with transition metal ions, within the scope and limitations of current techniques and biophysical methods to reach atomic resolution in solution and in blood serum. We also highlight the overwhelming need of a detailed atomistic understanding of HSA dynamic structures and interactions that are transient, weak, multi-site and multi-step, and allosterically affected by each other. Considering the fact that HSA is a current clinical tool for drug delivery systems and a potential contender as molecular cargo and nano-vehicle used in biophysical, clinical and industrial fields, we underline the emerging need for novel approaches to target the dynamic functional coordination chemistry of the human blood serum albumin in solution, at the atomic level.
Functional coordination chemistry
Human serum albumin (HSA)
Transition metal ions