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Microorganisms 2018, 6(4), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms6040109

Molecular Tunnels in Enzymes and Thermophily: A Case Study on the Relationship to Growth Temperature

Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, IRNAS-CSIC, Avda. Reina Mercedes 10, 41702 Sevilla, Spain
Received: 29 August 2018 / Revised: 11 October 2018 / Accepted: 16 October 2018 / Published: 20 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermophiles and Thermozymes)
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Abstract

Developments in protein expression, analysis and computational capabilities are decisively contributing to a better understanding of the structure of proteins and their relationship to function. Proteins are known to be adapted to the growth rate of microorganisms and some microorganisms (named (hyper)thermophiles) thrive optimally at high temperatures, even above 100 °C. Nevertheless, some biomolecules show great instability at high temperatures and some of them are universal and required substrates and cofactors in multiple enzymatic reactions for all (both mesophiles and thermophiles) living cells. Only a few possibilities have been pointed out to explain the mechanisms that thermophiles use to successfully thrive under high temperatures. As one of these alternatives, the role of molecular tunnels or channels in enzymes has been suggested but remains to be elucidated. This study presents an analysis of channels in proteins (i.e., substrate tunnels), comparing two different protein types, glutamate dehydrogenase and glutamine phosphoribosylpyrophosphate amidotransferase, which are supposed to present a different strategy on the requirement for substrate tunnels with low and high needs for tunneling, respectively. The search and comparison of molecular tunnels in these proteins from microorganisms thriving optimally from 15 °C to 100 °C suggested that those tunnels in (hyper)thermophiles are required and optimized to specific dimensions at high temperatures for the enzyme glutamine phosphoribosylpyrophosphate amidotransferase. For the enzyme glutamate dehydrogenase, a reduction of empty spaces within the protein could explain the optimization at increasing temperatures. This analysis provides further evidence on molecular channeling as a feasible mechanism in hyperthermophiles with multiple relevant consequences contributing to better understand how they live under those extreme conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: molecular tunnels; enzyme structure; enzyme activity; temperature; thermophile; thermophily; enzyme thermostability molecular tunnels; enzyme structure; enzyme activity; temperature; thermophile; thermophily; enzyme thermostability
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Gonzalez, J.M. Molecular Tunnels in Enzymes and Thermophily: A Case Study on the Relationship to Growth Temperature. Microorganisms 2018, 6, 109.

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