Proteins 'not dependent on water to survive and function'

   Apr 14, 6:59 pm

Washington, April 14 (ANI): Scientists at the University of Bristol have debunked one of the key beliefs in chemistry: that proteins are dependent on water to survive and function.

The findings could eventually lead to the development of new industrial enzymes.

Proteins are large organic molecules that are vital to every living thing, allowing us to convert food into energy, supply oxygen to our blood and muscles, and drive our immune systems.

Since proteins evolved in a water-rich environment, it is generally thought that they are dependent on water to survive and function.

Proteins consist of one or more polypeptides - chains of amino acids held together by peptide bonds. If a protein in water is heated to temperatures approaching the boiling point of water, these chains will lose their structure and the protein will denature (unfold).

A classic example of denaturing occurs when an egg is hard-boiled: the structures of the proteins in the egg unfold with temperature and stick together creating a solid. In the egg's case, this process cannot be reversed - however there are many examples where cooling the protein results in refolding of the structure.

Previously, it was thought that water was essential to the refolding process, however the Bristol findings suggest this isn't necessarily the case.

Using a spectroscopic technique called circular dichroism, Dr Adam Perriman of Bristol's School of Chemistry and colleagues have shown that the oxygen-carrying protein myoglobin can refold in an environment that is almost completely devoid of water molecules.

"We achieved this by attaching polymer molecules to the surface of the protein and then removing the water to give a viscous liquid which, when cooled from a temperature as high as 155 degree C, refolded back to its original structure," said Dr Perriman.

"We then used the Circular Dichroism beamline (B23) at Diamond Light Source, the UK's national synchrotron science facility in Oxfordshire, to track the refolding of the myoglobin structure and were astounded when we became aware of the extremely high thermal resistance of the new material," he added.

These findings could pave the way for the development of new industrial enzymes where hyper-thermal resistance would play a crucial role, in applications ranging from biosensor development to electrochemical reduction of CO2 to liquid fuels.

The study was published this month in Chemical Science. (ANI)

Machines to bring mega global unemployment by 2045 Feb 14, 2:40 pm
Washington D.C, Feb 14 (ANI): With the advances made in Artificial Intelligence (AI), human labour may soon become obsolete, experts have warned.
Full Story
Bilinguals' brains work differently Feb 14, 2:11 pm
Washington D.C, Feb 14 (ANI): According to a new study, language juggling can rewire a bilingual brain.
Full Story
Air pollution claims 5.5m lives annually, mainly in China, India Feb 13, 4:43 pm
Washington D.C, Feb 13 (ANI): Taking a deadly toll on us, poor air quality claims 5.5 million lives worldwide annually, with more than half of the deaths occurring in two of the world's fastest growing economies, China and India.
Full Story
Soon, you'll be able to get rid of bad memories Feb 13, 2:56 pm
London, Feb 13 (ANI): With a new documentary claiming that it may be possible to wipe out bad memories from your head, the movie 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' seems have made a leap from sci-fi to reality.
Full Story
Comments