Theses Doctoral

Effect of Surface Curvature and Chemistry on Protein Stability, Adsorption and Aggregation

Radhakrishna, Mithun

Enzyme immobilization has been of great industrial importance because of its use in various applications like bio-fuel cells, bio-sensors, drug delivery and bio-catalytic films. Although research on enzyme immobilization dates back to the 1970's, it has been only in the past decade that scientists have started to address the problems involved systematically. Most of the previous works on enzyme immobilization have been retrospective in nature i.e enzymes were immobilized on widely used substrates without a compatibility study between the enzyme and the substrate. Consequently, most of the enzymes lost their activity upon immobilization onto these substrates due to many governing factors like protein-surface and inter-protein interactions. These interactions also play a major role biologically in cell signaling, cell adhesion and inter-protein interactions specifically is believed to be the major cause for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Therefore understanding the role of these forces on proteins is the need of the hour. In my current research, I have mainly focused on two factors a) Surface Curvature b) Surface Chemistry as both of these play a pivotal role in influencing the activity of the enzymes upon immobilization. I study the effect of these factors computationally using a stochastic method known as Monte Carlo simulations.
My research work carried out in the frame work of a Hydrophobic-Polar (HP) lattice model for the protein shows that immobilizing enzymes inside moderately hydrophilic or hydrophobic pores results in an enhancement of the enzymatic activity compared to that in the bulk. Our results also indicate that there is an optimal value of surface curvature and hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity where this enhancement of enzymatic activity is highest. Further, our results also show that immobilization of enzymes inside hydrophobic pores of optimal sizes are most effective in mitigating protein-aggregation. These results provide us a rationale to understand the role of chaperonins in protein folding and disaggregation. Our results indicate that strong protein-surface interactions and confinement inducement stability inside pores makes it best suitable for enzyme immobilization.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Chemical Engineering
Thesis Advisors
Kumar, Sanat K
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 31, 2014