Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) has great potential for sterilization in the food industry, by deactivation of thermophilic bacteria, but the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. Therefore, we investigate here whether CAP is able to denature/modify protein from thermophilic bacteria. We focus on MTH1880 (MTH) from Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum as model protein, which we treated with dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma operating in air for 10, 15 and 20 mins. We analysed the structural changes of MTH using circular dichroism, fluorescence and NMR spectroscopy, as well as the thermal and chemical denaturation, upon CAP treatment. Additionally, we performed molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to determine the stability, flexibility and solvent accessible surface area (SASA) of both the native and oxidised protein.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the European Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship “Anticancer-PAM” within Horizon2020 (grant number 743546). This work was also supported by NRF-2017R1A2B2008483 to W.L. through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) and BK+ program (J.H.). E.H.C. acknowledges the NRF (NRF-2016K1A4A3914113 and No. 20100027963). The computational work was carried out using the Turing HPC infrastructure at the CalcUA core facility of the Universiteit Antwerpen (UA), a division of the Flemish Supercomputer Center VSC, funded by the Hercules Foundation, the Flemish Government (department EWI) and the UA.
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