The interactions of ligands with nucleic acids are central to numerous reactions in the biological cell. How such reactions are affected by harsh environmental conditions such as low temperatures, high pressures, and high concentrations of destructive ions is still largely unknown. To elucidate the ions' role in shaping habitability in extraterrestrial environments and the deep subsurface of Earth with respect to fundamental biochemical processes, we investigated the effect of selected salts (MgCl2, MgSO4, and Mg(ClO4)2) and high hydrostatic pressure (relevant for the subsurface of that planet) on the complex formation between tRNA and the ligand ThT. The results show that Mg2+ salts reduce the binding tendency of ThT to tRNA. This effect is largely due to the interaction of ThT with the salt anions, which leads to a strong decrease in the activity of the ligand. However, at mM concentrations, binding is still favored. The ions alter the thermodynamics of binding, rendering complex formation that is more entropy driven. Remarkably, the pressure favors ligand binding regardless of the type of salt. Although the binding constant is reduced, the harsh conditions in the subsurface of Earth, Mars, and icy moons do not necessarily preclude nucleic acid-ligand interactions of the type studied here.

Ions in the Deep Subsurface of Earth, Mars, and Icy Moons: Their Effects in Combination with Temperature and Pressure on tRNA-Ligand Binding

Oliva, Rosario;
2021

Abstract

The interactions of ligands with nucleic acids are central to numerous reactions in the biological cell. How such reactions are affected by harsh environmental conditions such as low temperatures, high pressures, and high concentrations of destructive ions is still largely unknown. To elucidate the ions' role in shaping habitability in extraterrestrial environments and the deep subsurface of Earth with respect to fundamental biochemical processes, we investigated the effect of selected salts (MgCl2, MgSO4, and Mg(ClO4)2) and high hydrostatic pressure (relevant for the subsurface of that planet) on the complex formation between tRNA and the ligand ThT. The results show that Mg2+ salts reduce the binding tendency of ThT to tRNA. This effect is largely due to the interaction of ThT with the salt anions, which leads to a strong decrease in the activity of the ligand. However, at mM concentrations, binding is still favored. The ions alter the thermodynamics of binding, rendering complex formation that is more entropy driven. Remarkably, the pressure favors ligand binding regardless of the type of salt. Although the binding constant is reduced, the harsh conditions in the subsurface of Earth, Mars, and icy moons do not necessarily preclude nucleic acid-ligand interactions of the type studied here.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/892877
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