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

J. Sørensen, D. S. Palmer, K. B. Qvist, B. Schiøtt

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19 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5636-5647
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011


  • bovine chymosin
  • peptides
  • cheese production

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