4 years ago

Protective mechanisms of α,α-trehalose revealed by molecular dynamics simulations

Weizhong Li, Jing Liu, Cong Chen

Molecular dynamics simulations were carried out to model aqueous solution with different concentration of α,α-trehalose, one kind of non-reducing sugars possessing outstanding freeze-drying protective effect on biological system. The dihedral angles of the intraglycosidic linkage in trehalose were measured to estimate its structure rigidity. The dynamics and hydrogen bonding properties were studied by calculating the self-diffusion coefficient of trehalose and the distributions and lifetimes of various types of H-bonds in the solution. Through analysing the results as well as comparison with another common sugar sucrose, the freeze-drying protective mechanism of trehalose was explained at molecule level. First, trehalose is able to maintain the local structure around it as a frame due to its relatively rigid conformation. Second, the addition of trehalose restrains the water molecules from rearrangement as a result of low mobility, thus reduces the probability of freezing; trehalose has lower diffusion coefficient than water and bigger thermal diffusivity, which are favourable for vitrification. Third, the formation of H-bonds between trehalose and water and between trehalose molecules is the essence of the protective effect. Trehalose does not work via strengthening the H-bonds formed between water molecules (W–W H-bonds), instead of which it breaks the potential tetrahedral pattern of W–W H-bonds, thus suppresses the tendency of ice formation. It was also found that trehalose realises protective action better at higher concentration as far as this study is concerned.

Publisher URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08927022.2017.1342126

DOI: 10.1080/08927022.2017.1342126

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