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Biophys Chem. 2003 Sep;105(2-3):667-80.

The 'glass transition' in protein dynamics: what it is, why it occurs, and how to exploit it.

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  • 1Departments of Biochemistry and Chemistry, Brandeis University, MS 029, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02454-9110, USA.

Abstract

All proteins undergo a dramatic change in their dynamical properties at approximately 200 K. Above this temperature, their dynamic behavior is dominated by large-scale collective motions of bonded and nonbonded groups of atoms. At lower temperatures, simple harmonic vibrations predominate. The transition has been described as a 'glass transition' to emphasize certain similarities between the change in dynamic behavior of individual protein molecules and the changes in viscosity and other properties of liquids when they form a glass. The glass transition may reflect the intrinsic temperature dependence of the motions of atoms in the protein itself, in the bound solvent on the surface of the protein, or it may reflect contributions from both. Protein function is significantly altered below this transition temperature; a fact that can be exploited to trap normally unstable intermediates in enzyme-catalyzed reactions and stabilize them for periods long enough to permit their characterization by high-resolution protein crystallography.

PMID:
14499926
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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