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Interaction of carbon nanotubes with microbial enzymes: conformational transitions and potential toxicity

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Abstract

Wide industrial, environmental and biomedical applications of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are allowing them to enter the environment. Their toxicity to microorganisms has been experimentally reported, but the underlying molecular mechanism is still unclear. Here, we investigated the conformational transitions in widely distributed microbial enzymes in the presence and absence of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) by molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Our study identifies a new mechanism by which SWCNTs produce possible toxicity to microbes by inducing significant changes in enzymatic conformations. The protein–protein interactions undergo significant transitions in two monomers, either towards or away from each other in the presence of SWCNTs. The significant conformational changes in microbial enzymes may inactivate the microbial enzymes and disturb the microbial metabolism.

Graphical abstract: Interaction of carbon nanotubes with microbial enzymes: conformational transitions and potential toxicity

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Publication details

The article was received on 08 Jun 2017, accepted on 14 Aug 2017 and first published on 14 Aug 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7EN00512A
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2017, Advance Article
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    Interaction of carbon nanotubes with microbial enzymes: conformational transitions and potential toxicity

    M. Chen, G. Zeng, P. Xu, M. Yan, W. Xiong and S. Zhou, Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2017, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7EN00512A

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