Engineering Peptides to Catalyze and Control Stabilization of Gas Hydrates: Learning from Nature

Mohammad Reza Ghaani*, Christopher C.R. Allen, Timofey Skvortsov, Niall J. English

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Clathrate hydrates are nonstoichiometric crystalline inclusion compounds. Water acts as a "host lattice"and traps small guest molecules in stable cavities. One example, methane hydrates, are especially prevalent in situ at the seafloor. Although microorganism-produced proteins and polypeptides, including marine methylotroph porin proteins, can accelerate methane hydrate formation under conditions simulating their natural occurrence at the seafloor, the role that particular peptide sequences play in biocatalytic hydrate kinetics enhancement is unclear, especially the underlying molecular-level mechanisms. Here, we reveal the peptide-focused regulation of microorganisms' role in managing marine hydrates via an approximation mechanism of enzymatic catalysis accelerating hydrate formation. Aside from control of hydrate kinetics per se, we speculate that this peptide-centric mechanistic understanding could lead to a re-evaluation of the extent and geological importance of bioregulation of methane turnover in the biosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5068–5075
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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