Design of new enzyme stabilizers inspired by glycosides of hyperthermophilic microorganisms

Tiago Q. Faria, Ana Mingote, Filipa Siopa, Rita Ventura, Christopher Maycock, Helena Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


In response to stressful conditions like supra-optimal salinity in the growth medium or temperature, many microorganisms accumulate low-molecular-mass organic compounds known as compatible solutes. In contrast with mesophiles that accumulate neutral or zwitterionic compounds, the solutes of hyperthermophiles are typically negatively charged. (2R)-2-(α-d-Mannopyranosyl)glycerate (herein abbreviated as mannosylglycerate) is one of the most widespread solutes among thermophilic and hyperthermophilic prokaryotes. In this work, several molecules chemically related to mannosylglycerate were synthesized, namely (2S)-2-(1-O-α-d-mannopyranosyl)propionate, 2-(1-O-α-d-mannopyranosyl)acetate, (2R)-2-(1-O-α-d-glucopyranosyl)glycerate and 1-O-(2-glyceryl)-α-d-mannopyranoside. The effectiveness of the newly synthesized compounds for the protection of model enzymes against heat-induced denaturation, aggregation and inactivation was evaluated, using differential scanning calorimetry, light scattering and measurements of residual activity. For comparison, the protection induced by natural compatible solutes, either neutral (e.g., trehalose, glycerol, ectoine) or negatively charged (di-myo-inositol-1,3′-phosphate and diglycerol phosphate), was assessed. Phosphate, sulfate, acetate and KCl were also included in the assays to rank the solutes and new compounds in the Hofmeister series. The data demonstrate the superiority of charged organic solutes as thermo-stabilizers of enzymes and strongly support the view that the extent of protein stabilization rendered by those solutes depends clearly on the specific solute/enzyme examined. The relevance of these findings to our knowledge on the mode of action of charged solutes is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3025-3033
Number of pages9
JournalCarbohydrate Research
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2008


  • Compatible solutes
  • Mannosylglycerate
  • Negatively charged solutes
  • Protein aggregation
  • Protein stabilization
  • Thermal inactivation


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