An understanding of the determinants of the thermal stability of thermostable proteins is expected to enable design of enzymes that can be employed in industrial biocatalytic processes carried out at high temperatures. A major factor that has been proposed to stabilize thermostable proteins is the high occurrenceof salt bridges. The current study employs free energy calculations to elucidate the thermodynamics of the formation of salt bridge interactions and the temperature dependence, using acetate and methylguanidium ionsas model systems. Three different orientations of the methylguanidinium approaching the carboxylate grouphave been considered for obtaining the free energy profiles. The association of the two ions becomes more favorable with an increase in temperature. The desolvation penalty corresponding to the association of the ionpair is the lowest at high temperatures. The occurrence of bridging water molecules between the ions ensures that the ions are not fully desolvated, and this could provide an explanation for the existence of internal watermolecules in thermostable proteins reported recently. The findings provide a detailed picture of the interactions that make ion pair association at high temperatures a favorable process, and reaffirm the importance of saltbridges in the design of thermostable proteins.
Volume 134, 2022
Continuous Article Publishing mode
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