Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
The cell interior is densely crowded with hundreds of thousands of macromolecules like proteins, DNA, RNA and smaller molecules forming viscous water solution. In science, this constriction is called “molecular crowding”. The effect can lead to fundamental changes in several of a molecule's characteristics.
The behavior of a “free” protein or enzyme in a test tube does not necessarily follow natural processes, as the cell provides high viscos environment and confined space. In the lab, it had previously only been possible to simulate confined space but not crowded milieu simultaneously.
Imitating mother nature
A team of researchers led by Professor Wolfgang Meier of the University of Basel has now developed a system that comes a significant step closer to the natural model, as for the first time it simulated the crowding effect inside a closed vesicle. “The environment inside a cell has a major effect on the chemical reactions that take place there, so we wanted to copy this in a way coming close to nature as possible,” said Professor Meier.
To create the cellular surroundings, the researchers from the Department of Chemistry made nanoscopic vesicles, so-called polymersomes, and loaded these with the horseradish peroxidase enzyme and a highly viscous solution as crowding components.
The kinetics of chemical reactions by a given enzyme could thus be determined for the first time, taking “molecular crowding” into account.The results show that both factors have a strong influence on enzymatic kinetics.
Controlling the speed of chemical reactions
“Our design takes into account the natural environmental factors that influence enzymes’ performance, and therefore brings us significantly further forward in the development of nanoreactors,” said Professor Meier. The results demonstrate that the behavior of enzymes can be specifically controlled using the crowding effect – an important factor in developing artificial organelles for enzyme replacement therapy.
Patric Baumann, Mariana Spulber, Ozana Fischer, Anja Car, Wolfgang Meier
Investigation of horseradish peroxidase kinetics in an ‘organelle like’ environment
Small (2017), doi: 10.1002/smll.201603943
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang P. Meier, University of Basel, Department of Chemistry, Tel. +41 61 207 38 02, Email: Wolfgang.Meier@unibas.ch
Reto Caluori | Universität Basel
Monitoring Pollen Using an Aircraft: Pollen Present at Variable Elevations
03.04.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Red and violet light reset the circadian clock in algae via novel pathway
31.03.2017 | Nagoya University
Plant pollen and fungal spores can be found at variable heights in the air, even at elevations up to 2000 meters. This is the conclusion of a report by researchers of Helmholtz Zentrum München and Technical University of Munich together with Greek colleagues, which was published in the journal ‘Scientific Reports’. Hitherto it was assumed that such allergens are mainly present close to where they are released, namely near ground level.
One in every five Europeans currently already suffers from allergies – and the trend is increasing. Plant pollen and fungal spores contribute considerably to...
By comparison, a blink lasts a lifetime – atoms can rearrange themselves within one 350 quadrillionths of a second. As reported in the latest issue of the prestigious journal Nature, scientists at the Center for Nanointegration (CENIDE) at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), together with their colleagues from the University of Paderborn, have been able to observe the movement of a one-dimensional material in real-time. Their research confirms that the acceleration of the atoms could leave even a Porsche standing.
Everything that surrounds us in our everyday life is three-dimensional, no matter how small: salt crystals, pollen, dust – even aluminium foil has a certain...
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
03.04.2017 | Event News
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Information Technology
03.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
03.04.2017 | Studies and Analyses