Low crowding agent concentration destabilizes against pressure unfolding

J. Somkuti, Z. Török, F. Pfalzgraf, L. Smeller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


The concentration of macromolecules inside a cell is very high, which can affect the behavior of the enzymes, and consequently influence vital biological processes. This is called macromolecular crowding. Since the most important effect of macromolecular crowding is the excluded volume, we performed pressure experiments, where the volume (as conjugate parameter to the pressure) is the crucial factor. We measured the temperature and pressure stability of bovine serum albumin and lysozyme with various concentrations of crowding agents, dextran, Ficoll™ and lysozyme itself. Our most interesting finding is that low concentration of all the studied crowding agents decreases the pressure stability of the proteins. We explain this by the reduced hydration volume change in the crowded environment. Furthermore, we discuss the volumetric parameters and emphasize the difference between the partial volume of the protein and the volume it influences, and their relation to the excluded volume which is responsible for the macromolecular crowding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-134
Number of pages10
JournalBiophysical Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • BSA
  • Dextran
  • FTIR spectroscopy
  • Ficoll
  • Macromolecular crowding
  • Pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

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