Simulating Enzyme Reactivity: Computational Methods in Enzyme Catalysis
Chapter 13: Effects of Water and Non-aqueous Solvents on Enzyme Activity
Published:16 Nov 2016
Eva Pluhařová, Nicolas Chéron, Damien Laage, 2016. "Effects of Water and Non-aqueous Solvents on Enzyme Activity", Simulating Enzyme Reactivity: Computational Methods in Enzyme Catalysis, Inaki Tunon, Vicent Moliner
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Water is largely considered to be an indispensable ingredient to life. Living organisms can adapt to a surprisingly broad range of harsh conditions, including for example the glacial temperatures found in the Himalayas, the very hot (up to 400 °C) hydrothermal vents at the bottom of oceans, the very acidic or very basic conditions found in geysers and volcanic environments, and the high salinity of the Dead Sea.1 However, despite the harshness of these extreme conditions, the presence of liquid water seems to remain an essential requirement. Even for organisms like seeds, which may survive in a dormant state in dry conditions, water is necessary to grow and develop. One may then ask what is so special about water. What are the molecular properties that make it so important for the functioning of living organisms? Is it for example its high polarity, or rather its ability to form an extended hydrogen-bonded network, or the lability of this network?