On the activity loss of hydrolases in organic solvents : II. a mechanistic study of subtilisin Carlsberg

Castllio, Betsaida and Bansal, Vibha and Ganesan, Ashok and Halling, P.J. and Secundo, Francesco and Ferrer, Amaris (2006) On the activity loss of hydrolases in organic solvents : II. a mechanistic study of subtilisin Carlsberg. BMC Biotechnology, 6 (51).

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Abstract

Enzymes have been extensively used in organic solvents to catalyze a variety of transformations of biological and industrial significance. It has been generally accepted that in dry aprotic organic solvents, enzymes are kinetically trapped in their conformation due to the high-energy barrier needed for them to unfold, suggesting that in such media they should remain catalytically active for long periods. However, recent studies on a variety of enzymes demonstrate that their initial high activity is severely reduced after exposure to organic solvents for several hours. It was speculated that this could be due to structural perturbations, changes of the enzyme's pH memory, enzyme aggregation, or dehydration due to water removal by the solvents. Herein, we systematically study the possible causes for this undesirable activity loss in 1,4-dioxane.