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Protein hydration layer: which dynamics, which impact on the biological function?

Damien Laage, Département de Chimie, ENS (Paris)

Séminaire LCPQ

Salle de séminaire IRSAMC

Water is widely considered as indispensable to life. But the exact properties which make water the elixir of life have remained elusive. To understand the role played by water in biomolecular function at the molecular level, we first investigate the perturbation induced by proteins on the dynamics of water molecules in their vicinity. While all observations concur with a slowdown of water dynamics relative to the bulk, the magnitude and molecular origin of this retardation remain unclear. Via numerical simulations and theoretical modeling established in prior studies of smaller solutes [1], we determine a molecular description of protein hydration dynamics and identify the key protein features that govern it [2]. In a complementary study, we focus on the influence of water on the functioning of an enzyme. Water is usually depicted as a lubricant which facilitates the conformational transitions occurring during enzyme catalysis. Through the study of an enzyme in a non-aqueous solvent, we try to give a molecular interpretation of this description [3].

[1] D. Laage, G. Stirnemann, F. Sterpone, R. Rey, J.T. Hynes, Annu. Rev. Phys. Chem. 62, 395-416 (2011)
[2] F. Sterpone, G. Stirnemann, D. Laage, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 134, 4116-4119 (2012).
[3] This project is supported by the ERC Starting Grant « EOS ».