NMR Studies of Protein Hydration and Protein-Ligand Interactions Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Chong, Yuan
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Water on the surface of a protein is called hydration water. Hydration water is known to play a crucial role in a variety of biological processes including protein folding, enzymatic activation, and drug binding. Although the significance of hydration water has been recognized, the underlying mechanism remains far from being understood. This dissertation employs a unique in-situ nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technique to study the mechanism of protein hydration and the role of hydration in alcohol-protein interactions. Water isotherms in proteins are measured at different temperatures via the in-situ NMR technique. Water is found to interact differently with hydrophilic and hydrophobic groups on the protein. Water adsorption on hydrophilic groups is hardly affected by the temperature, while water adsorption on hydrophobic groups strongly depends on the temperature around 10 C, below which the adsorption is substantially reduced. This effect is induced by the dramatic decrease in the protein flexibility below 10 C. Furthermore, nanosecond to microsecond protein dynamics and the free energy, enthalpy, and entropy of protein hydration are studied as a function of hydration level and temperature. A crossover at 10 C in protein dynamics and thermodynamics is revealed. The effect of water at hydrophilic groups on protein dynamics and thermodynamics shows little temperature dependence, whereas water at hydrophobic groups has stronger effect above 10 C. In addition, I investigate the role of water in alcohol binding to the protein using the in-situ NMR detection. The isotherms of alcohols are first measured on dry proteins, then on proteins with a series of controlled hydration levels. The free energy, enthalpy, and entropy of alcohol binding are also determined. Two distinct types of alcohol binding are identified. On the one hand, alcohols can directly bind to a few specific sites on the protein. This type of binding is independent of temperature and can be facilitated by hydration. On the other hand, alcohols can bind to many nonspecific sites on the protein. In dry proteins, this type of binding only occurs above a threshold of alcohol vapor pressure. Such a threshold is gradually reduced by increasing the hydration level and can be removed above a critical hydration level. Hydration also shifts the nonspecific alcohol binding from an entropy-driven to an enthalpy-driven process. This dissertation reveals the mechanism of protein hydration and the detailed roles of hydration in ligand binding, with important implications for the understanding of protein functions.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Wu, Yue
  • McNeil, Laurie
  • Branca, Rosa Tamara
  • Ng, Y. Jack
  • Washburn, Sean
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017

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