Protecting activity of desiccated enzymes. Academic Article uri icon


  • Protein-based biological drugs and many industrial enzymes are unstable, making them prohibitively expensive. Some can be stabilized by formulation with excipients, but most still require low temperature storage. In search of new, more robust excipients, we turned to the tardigrade, a microscopic animal that synthesizes cytosolic abundant heat soluble (CAHS) proteins to protect its cellular components during desiccation. We find that CAHS proteins protect the test enzymes lactate dehydrogenase and lipoprotein lipase against desiccation-, freezing-, and lyophilization-induced deactivation. Our data also show that a variety of globular and disordered protein controls, with no known link to desiccation tolerance, protect our test enzymes. Protection of lactate dehydrogenase correlates, albeit imperfectly, with the charge density of the protein additive, suggesting an approach to tune protection by modifying charge. Our results support the potential use of CAHS proteins as stabilizing excipients in formulations and suggest that other proteins may have similar potential.

publication date

  • May 2019