• The influence of water on the glucose affinity of hexokinase

      Reid, Charles Robert.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1995-07-09)
      In the present thesis, the role of hydration during the glucose induced conformational change of hexokinase is investigated. This is accomplished by applying the osmotic stress technique. The osmotic stress technique is founded on varying of the activity of water in a system in order to determine ifs effects. This is accomplished by adding inert solute molecules that are excluded from the system under study. The solute molecules used within the present investigation are Polyethylene glycols (PEGs). PEGs aid in the removal of water from hexokinase by exerting osmotic pressure. The osmotic pressures of the PEG solutions are also measured with both vapour pressure osmometry and secondary osmometry with phospholipids. An interesting discovery is made in that the osmotic pressures of PEG and co-solute solutions are non-additive. This indicates that PEG concentrates co-solutes in solution by making a certain proportion of the water inaccessible. Glucose binding was measured fluorometrically and the glucose equilibrium dissociation constant (GEDC) of hexokinase is measured in solutions containing the different MW PEGs. Changes in the sensitivity of the glucose affinity with osmotic pressure allows the calculation of the change in the numbers of polymer-inaccessible water molecules upon the binding of glucose to hexokinase ~Nw. It was determined the ~Nw decreases with increases in osmotic pressure in the presence of all MW PEGs. ~Nw decreases from values between 45-290 water molecules at low pressure to approximately 15 at high pressure. There is also a molecular weight dependence observed. There are large decreases in ~Nw with osmotic pressure in the presence of PEGs above MW 1000. However, below MW 1500 changes in ~Nw with osmotic pressure are relatively small. These findings are interpreted with respect to two possible mechanisms involving changes in the conformation of hexokinase u~der osmotic pressure and the access of the PEG molecules to water surrounding hexokinase.