There has been a substantial increase in enzyme applications within the biochemical and pharmaceutical industries, for example, as industrial biocatalysts. However, enzymes have narrow marginal stability which makes them prone to become inactive and/or denature with a slight change in the solvent environment. Typically industrial applications require harsher solvent environments than enzyme native environments, and hence there is a need to understand solvent-protein interactions in order to develop strategies to maintain, or enhance, the enzymatic activity under industrially relevant solvent conditions. Previously we have shown that protic ionic liquids (PILs) with water can have a stabilising effect on lysozyme, with a large variation dependent on which PIL ions are present, and the water concentration [E. C. Wijaya et al., Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 18(37), 25926–25936 (2016)]. Here we extend on this work using non-stoichiometric aqueous PIL solvents to investigate, and isolate, the role of pH and ionicity on enzymes. We have used the PILs ethylammonium nitrate (EAN) and ethanolammonium formate (EOAF) since our previous work has identified these as good solvents for lysozyme. Solvent libraries were made from these two PILs with an additional precursor acid or base to modify the acidity/basicity of the neutral stoichiometric PIL, and with water added, to have solutions with 4-17 mol. % of the PIL ions in water. Molar ratios of base:acid were varied between 1:1.05 and 2:1 for EAN and 1:1.25 and 2:1 for EOAF, which enabled from highly basic to highly acidic solutions to be obtained. This was to modify the acidity/basicity of the neutral stoichiometric PILs, without the addition of buffers. The structure and stability of hen egg white lysozyme (HEWL) were explored under these solvent conditions using synchrotron small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), and activity assays. The radius of gyration and Kratky plots obtained from the SAXS data showed little change with varying ionicity or acid:base ratio. FTIR showed that α-helix was maintained in all, except for the most acidic solvent conditions. The activity data show that HEWL was active between pH 0 and 11 for the EA:N-water system and pH 4.4 and 11 for the EOA:F-water system. This work indicates that ionic liquids have the potential to enable enzymes to maintain activity across a broader range of solvent conditions.
Stability and activity of lysozyme in stoichiometric and non-stoichiometric protic ionic liquid (PIL)-water systems
Emmy C. Wijaya, Frances Separovic, Calum J. Drummond, Tamar L. Greaves; Stability and activity of lysozyme in stoichiometric and non-stoichiometric protic ionic liquid (PIL)-water systems. J. Chem. Phys. 21 May 2018; 148 (19): 193838. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5010055
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