In piezophilic microorganisms, enzymes are optimized to perform under high hydrostatic pressure. The two major reported mechanisms responsible for such adaptation in bacterial species are changes in amino acids in the protein structure, favoring their activity and stability under high-pressure conditions, and the possible accumulation of micromolecular co-solutes in the cytoplasm. Recently, the accumulation of glutamate in the cytoplasm of piezophilic Desulfovibrio species has been reported under high-pressure growth conditions. In this study, analysis of the effect of glutamate on the enzymatic activity of the thioredoxin reductase/thioredoxin enzymatic complex of either a piezosensitive or a piezophilic microorganism confirms its role as a protective co-solute. Analysis of the thioredoxin structures suggests an adaptation both to the presence of glutamate and to high hydrostatic pressure in the enzyme from the piezophilic strain. Indeed, the presence of large surface pockets could counterbalance the overall compression that occurs at high hydrostatic pressure to maintain enzymatic activity. A lower isoelectric point and a greater dipolar moment than that of thioredoxin from the piezosensitive strain would allow the protein from the piezophilic strain to compensate for the presence of the charged amino acid glutamate to interact with its partner.
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Gaussier, H., Nouailler, M., Champaud, E. et al. Glutamate optimizes enzymatic activity under high hydrostatic pressure in Desulfovibrio species: effects on the ubiquitous thioredoxin system. Extremophiles 25, 385–392 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00792-021-01236-x
- Hydrostatic pressure