Structural basis for the enhanced stability of protein model compounds and peptide backbone unit in ammonium ionic liquids

T. Vasantha, Pankaj Attri, Pannuru Venkatesu, R. S.Rama Devi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Protein folding/unfolding is a fascinating study in the presence of cosolvents, which protect/disrupt the native structure of protein, respectively. The structure and stability of proteins and their functional groups may be modulated by the addition of cosolvents. Ionic liquids (ILs) are finding a vast array of applications as novel cosolvents for a wide variety of biochemical processes that include protein folding. Here, the systematic and quantitative apparent transfer free energies (δ G′tr) of protein model compounds from water to ILs through solubility measurements as a function of IL concentration at 25 °C have been exploited to quantify and interpret biomolecular interactions between model compounds of glycine peptides (GPs) with ammonium based ILs. The investigated aqueous systems consist of zwitterionic glycine peptides: glycine (Gly), diglycine (Gly2), triglycine (Gly3), tetraglycine (Gly4), and cyclic glycylglycine (c(GG)) in the presence of six ILs such as diethylammonium acetate (DEAA), diethylammonium hydrogen sulfate (DEAS), triethylammonium acetate (TEAA), triethylammonium hydrogen sulfate (TEAS), triethylammonium dihydrogen phosphate (TEAP), and trimethylammonium acetate (TMAA). We have observed positive values of δ G′tr for GPs from water to ILs, indicating that interactions between ILs and GPs are unfavorable, which leads to stabilization of the structure of model protein compounds. Moreover, our experimental data δ G′tr is used to obtain transfer free energies (δ g′tr) of the peptide backbone unit (or glycyl unit) (-CH 2C=ONH-), which is the most numerous group in globular proteins, from water to IL solutions. To obtain the mechanism events of the ILs' role in enhancing the stability of the model compounds, we have further obtained m-values for GPs from solubility limits. These results explicitly elucidate that all alkyl ammonium ILs act as stabilizers for model compounds through the exclusion of ILs from model compounds of proteins and also reflect the effect of alkyl chain on the stability of protein model compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11968-11978
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number39
Publication statusPublished - Oct 4 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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