Molecular Mechanism of Hydrotropic Properties of GTP and ATP

Mayank Prakash Pandey, Sreeja Sasidharan, Velayudhan A. Raghunathan, Himanshu Khandelia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Hydrotropes are small amphiphilic compounds that increase the aqueous solubility of hydrophobic molecules. Recent evidence suggests that adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the primary energy carrier in cells, also assumes hydrotropic properties to prevent the aggregation of hydrophobic proteins, but the mechanism of hydrotropy is unknown. Here, we compare the hydrotropic behavior of all four biological nucleoside triphosphates (NTPs) using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. We launch all atom MD simulations of aqueous solutions of NTPs [ATP, guanosine triphosphate (GTP), cytidine triphosphate (CTP), and uridine triphosphate (UTP)] with pyrene, which acts both as a model hydrophobic compound and as a spectroscopic reporter for aggregation. GTP prevents pyrene aggregation effectively. Dissolution is not achieved in the presence of CTP and UTP. The higher stability of the base stacking in guanine is responsible for the higher hydrotropic efficiency of GTP. Consistent with the simulations, spectroscopic measurements also suggest that the hydrotropic activity of GTP is higher than ATP. Stacking of aromatic pyrene with the aromatic base of NTPs is a characteristic feature of this hydrotropic property. Both ATP and GTP also dissolve clusters of di- and tripeptides containing tryptophan but with equal potency. Importantly, the presence of aromatic amino acids is a necessary condition for the hydrotropic potency of ATP and GTP. Our results can have broad implications for hydrotrope design in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the possibility of cells employing GTP as a hydrotrope to regulate the hydrophobic protein aggregation in membrane-less biological condensates.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number42
Pages (from-to)8486-8494
Publication statusPublished - 27. Oct 2022


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