The intracellular environment in which biological reactions occur is crowded with macromolecules and subdivided into microenvironments that differ in both physical properties and chemical composition. The work described here combines experimental and computational model systems to help understand the consequences of this heterogeneous reaction media on the outcome of coupled enzyme reactions. Our experimental model system for solution heterogeneity is a biphasic polyethylene glycol (PEG)/sodium citrate aqueous mixture that provides coexisting PEG-rich and citrate-rich phases. Reaction kinetics for the coupled enzyme reaction between glucose oxidase (GOX) and horseradish peroxidase (HRP) were measured in the PEG/citrate aqueous two-phase system (ATPS). Enzyme kinetics differed between the two phases, particularly for the HRP. Both enzymes, as well as the substrates glucose and H2O2, partitioned to the citrate-rich phase; however, the Amplex Red substrate necessary to complete the sequential reaction partitioned strongly to the PEG-rich phase. Reactions in ATPS were quantitatively described by a mathematical model that incorporated measured partitioning and kinetic parameters. The model was then extended to new reaction conditions, i.e., higher enzyme concentration. Both experimental and computational results suggest mass transfer across the interface is vital to maintain the observed rate of product formation, which may be a means of metabolic regulation in vivo. Although outcomes for a specific system will depend on the particulars of the enzyme reactions and the microenvironments, this work demonstrates how coupled enzymatic reactions in complex, heterogeneous media can be understood in terms of a mathematical model.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry