Organic solvents strip water off enzymes

Biotechnol Bioeng. 1992 Feb 20;39(4):392-7. doi: 10.1002/bit.260390405.


Exchange of enzyme-bound H(2)O with T(2)O in aqueous solution followed by freeze drying provided tritiated water bound to chymotrypsin, subtilisin Carlsberg, and horseradish peroxidase. The desorption of T(2)O from these enzymes suspended in various organic solvents showed that all three enzymes lost enzyme-bound water with peroxidase losing the most T(2)O of the three in solvents of moderate to high polarity. Polar solvent resulted in the highest degree of T(2)O desorption (e.g., methanol desorbed from 56%-62% of the bound T(2)O), while nonpolar solvents resulted in the lowest degree of desorption (e.g., hexane desorbed from 0.4%-2% of the bound T(2)O). Desorption is nearly immediate with most of the desorbable T(2)O being released from the enzymes within the first 5 min. Both solvent dielectric and a measure of the saturated molar solubility of water in a given solvent provide accurate correlations between the properties of the organic solvents and the extent of T(2)O desorption. This investigation shows that water stripping from an enzyme into a nonaqueous medium does occur and can be significant in polar solvents.