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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 1996 Aug;7(4):428-32.

The role of protein-solvent interactions in protein unfolding.

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  • 1Department of Protein Engineering, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.


Protein unfolding occurs when the balance of forces between the protein's interaction with itself and the protein's interaction with its environment is disrupted. The disruption of this balance of forces may be as simple as a perturbance of the normal water structure around the protein. A decrease in the normal water-water interaction will result in an increase in the relative interaction of water with the protein. An increase in the number of interactions between water and the protein may initiate a protein's unfolding. This model for protein unfolding is supported by a range of recent experimental and computational data.

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