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Title: Neutron scattering studies of water in biomolecules and biomaterials
Author: Chan, Lok
ISNI:       0000 0004 2719 6728
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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It is increasingly important to identify the nature of the interfacial water in biology in order to explain how biological functions and systems work. It is not simply a matter of which biomolecules are present in a cell, but also of how these biomolecules interact with one another. This body of work uses neutron scattering techniques to explain the nature of the vibrational dynamics of water interacting with biomolecules and systems that mimic the biological molecular crowding environment of a cell. Recent work in science has seen the synthesis of periodic mesoporous organosilicas with organic groups attached. In the first paper in this thesis, the use of one of these materials is highlighted to look at confined water, equivalent to the water found in a crowded cellular environment. Here it is shown that the properties of the water within the pores and water molecules around the surface were shown to be different and then identified as interfacial and bulk water respectively. In order to develop the investigation of interfacial water with biological matter, it seemed appropriate to start with the most basic molecules, amino acids. The second paper presents a complete survey of the 20 biologically important amino acids using one of the world's highest resolution neutron scattering spectrometer (TOSCA at ISIS, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory). Computer simulation of the experimental work through molecular dynamics, allows many vibrational modes to be assigned for the first time and correlated with the broader vibrational peaks previously observed for proteins. Comparison of the dry states with the hydrated states of amino acids, gives some insight into the sites within the amino acid side chains where water molecules are likely to bind. For serine this is the hydroxyl group in the side chain. The third paper focuses on IINS data of serine in more detail and discusses several low energy vibrational modes that have been assigned and for the first time, shows how the presence of water molecules changes the dynamic behaviour of librational and torsional modes differently. The combination of these studies allows a clearer picture of how water in biology interacts with biomolecules and of the importance of water to our existence.
Supervisor: Ford, Robert Sponsor: BBSRC ; Farfield Group Ltd.
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: neutron scattering ; water ; amino acid ; hydration ; vibrational spectroscopy ; serine ; silica gel