Affordable Access

deepdyve-link
Publisher Website

Perchlorate Salts Exert a Dominant, Deleterious Effect on the Structure, Stability, and Activity of α-Chymotrypsin.

Authors
  • Gault, Stewart1
  • Cockell, Charles S1
  • 1 Centre for Astrobiology, SUPA School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Astrobiology
Publisher
Mary Ann Liebert
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2021
Volume
21
Issue
4
Pages
405–412
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1089/ast.2020.2223
PMID: 33784200
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The presence of perchlorate ions on Mars raises the question of how these ions influence the biochemistry of any contaminant life introduced into the martian environment, or what selection pressures perchlorate ions exert on any environment that contains these ions, such as the Atacama Desert. In this study, we investigated the structure, stability, and enzyme activity of the model enzyme α-chymotrypsin in the presence of five Mars relevant salts, MgSO4, MgCl2, Mg(ClO4)2, Ca(ClO4)2, and NaClO4. We found that all the perchlorate salts reduced the enzyme activity of α-chymotrypsin in a concentration-dependent manner, with Mg(ClO4)2 and Ca(ClO4)2 having the greatest effect. This observation extends to our structural studies, which show that 1 M Mg(ClO4)2 and Ca(ClO4)2 greatly alter the tertiary structural environment of α-chymotrypsin. We also found that all the perchlorate salts assayed reduced the melting temperature of α-chymotrypsin, whereas the sulfate and chloride salts were able to increase the protein melting temperature. We also demonstrated that a brine containing both perchlorate and sulfate ions exerts the same deleterious effects on α-chymotrypsin's melting temperature and enzyme activity as that of a perchlorate-only brine. This suggests that the perchlorate salts exert a dominant, deleterious effect on protein biochemistry. These results indicate that although perchlorate salts are beneficial to the presence of liquid water due to low eutectic points, they also hamper the habitability of their own environment. Life in such brines would, therefore, have to adapt its cellular machinery to the perchlorate ion's presence or find a way of excluding it from said machinery.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times