The Role of Protein-Mineral Interactions for Protein Adsorption or Fragmentation

Monday, 15 December 2014: 2:10 PM
Stephany Soledad Chacon1, Patrick Reardon2, Nancy Washton2 and Markus Kleber1, (1)Oregon State University, Crop and Soil Science, Corvallis, OR, United States, (2)Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Richland, WA, United States
Soil exo-enzymes (EE) are proteins with the capability to catalyze the depolymerization of soil organic matter (SOM). SOM must be disassembled by EEs in order to be transported through the microbial cell wall and become metabolized. One factor determining an EE’s functionality is their affinity to mineral surfaces found in the soil. Our goal was to establish the range of protein modifications, either chemical or structural, as the protein becomes associated with mineral surfaces. We hypothesized that pedogenic oxides would generate more extensive chemical alterations to the protein structure than phyllosilicates. A well-characterized protein proxy (Gb1, IEP 4.0, 6.2 kDA) was adsorbed onto functionally different mineral surfaces (goethite, montmorillonite, kaolinite and birnesite) at pH 5 and pH 7. We used 1H 15N Heteronuclear Single Quantum Coherence Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (HSQC NMR) to observe structural modifications in the unadsorbed Gb1 that was allowed to equilibrate during the adsorption process for kaolinite, goethite and birnessite. Solid state NMR was used to observe the structural modifications of Gb1 while adsorbed onto kaolinite and montmorillonite. Preliminary results in the HSQC NMR spectra observed no changes in the native conformation of Gb1 when allowed to interact with goethite and kaolinite while birnessite induced strong structural modification of Gb1 at an acidic pH. Our results suggest that not all mineral surfaces in soil act as sorbents for EEs and changes in their catalytic activity upon adsorption to minerals surfaces may not just be an indication of conformational changes but of fragmentation of the protein itself.