The enzymatic activity of human carbonic anhydrase II (HCAII) was studied in the presence of nanoparticles of different nature and charge. Negatively charged nanoparticles inhibit HCAII whereas no effect is seen for positively charged particles. The kinetic effects were correlated with the strength of binding of the enzyme to the particle surface as measured by ITC and adsorption assays. Moreover, conformational changes upon adsorption were observed by circular dichroism. The main initial driving force for the adsorption of HCAII to nanoparticles is of electrostatic nature whereas the hydrophobic effect is not strong enough to drive the initial binding. This is corroborated by the fact that HCAII do not adsorb on positively charged hydrophobic polystyrene nanoparticles. Furthermore, the dehydration of the particle and protein surface seems to play an important role in the inactivation of HCAII by carboxyl-modified polystyrene nanoparticles. On the other hand, the inactivation by unmodified polystyrene nanoparticles is mainly driven by intramolecular interactions established between the protein and the nanoparticle surface upon conformational changes in the protein.
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