The potential of using immobilized Heat Shock Protein 70 (HSP 70) in combination with other molecular chaperones to ameliorate problems of enzyme denaturation was investigated. Firefly luciferase was used as a model enzyme due to its sensitivity to thermal denaturation, and the availability of a sensitive chemiluminescent assay method for determination of relative activity of this enzyme. Control experiments and development of effective combinations of HSP with other chaperones involved re-activation of enzyme in bulk solution. A combination of HSP 70, α-crystallin and reticulocyte lysate (RL) in bulk solution were found to re-activate soluble firefly luciferase to about 60% of the initial activity after the enzyme activity had been reduced to less than 2% by thermal denaturation. HSP 70 that was covalently immobilized onto glass surfaces was also able to re-activate denatured enzyme that was in bulk solution. Over 30% of the initial activity could be regained from heat denatured enzyme when using immobilized HSP in the presence of other chaperones. The activity of soluble enzyme decayed to negligible values in a period of days when stored at room temperature. In the presence of immobilized HSP and chaperones, activity stabilized at about 10% of the initial activity even after many weeks. The results suggest that immobilized molecular chaperones such as HSP 70 may provide some potential for stabilization and re-activation of enzymes that are trapped in thin aqueous films for applications in biosensors and reactors. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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