What Macromolecular Crowding Can Do to a Protein

Irina Kuznetsova, Konstantin Turoverov, Vladimir Uversky
2014 International Journal of Molecular Sciences  
The intracellular environment represents an extremely crowded milieu, with a limited amount of free water and an almost complete lack of unoccupied space. Obviously, slightly salted aqueous solutions containing low concentrations of a biomolecule of interest are too simplistic to mimic the "real life" situation, where the biomolecule of interest scrambles and wades through the tightly packed crowd. In laboratory practice, such macromolecular crowding is typically mimicked by concentrated
more » ... ns of various polymers that serve as model "crowding agents". Studies under these conditions revealed that macromolecular crowding might affect protein structure, folding, shape, conformational stability, binding of small molecules, enzymatic activity, protein-protein interactions, protein-nucleic acid interactions, and pathological aggregation. The goal of this review is to systematically analyze currently available experimental data on the variety of effects of OPEN ACCESS Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2014, 15 23091 macromolecular crowding on a protein molecule. The review covers more than 320 papers and therefore represents one of the most comprehensive compendia of the current knowledge in this exciting area.
doi:10.3390/ijms151223090 pmid:25514413 pmcid:PMC4284756 fatcat:qj5fwpkkfzeuvh52g3uoo353em