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J Mol Biol. 1992 Apr 5;224(3):715-23.

Contribution of hydration and non-covalent interactions to the heat capacity effect on protein unfolding.

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Department of Biology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218.


The heat capacity change upon protein unfolding has been analysed using the heat capacity data for the model compounds' transfer into water, corrected for volume effects. It has been shown that in the unfolding, the heat capacity increment is contributed to by the effect of hydration of the non-polar groups, which is positive and decreases with temperature increase, and by the effect of hydration of the polar groups, which is negative and decreases in magnitude as temperature increases. The sum of these two effects is very close to the total heat capacity increment of protein unfolding at room temperature but is likely to deviate from it at higher temperatures. Therefore, the expected heat capacity effect caused by the increase of configurational freedom of the polypeptide chain upon unfolding seems to be compensated for by some other effect, perhaps associated with fluctuation of the native protein structure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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