Solvent dependence of dynamic transitions in protein solutions

A transition as a function of increasing temperature from harmonic to anharmonic dynamics has been observed in globular proteins by using spectroscopic, scattering, and computer simulation techniques. We present here results of a dynamic neutron scattering analysis of the solvent dependence of the picosecond-time scale dynamic transition behavior of solutions of a simple single-subunit enzyme, xylanase. The protein is examined in powder form, in D₂O, and in four two-component perdeuterated single-phase cryosolvents in which it is active and stable. The scattering profiles of the mixed solvent systems in the absence of protein are also determined. The general features of the dynamic transition behavior of the protein solutions follow those of the solvents. The dynamic transition in all of the mixed cryosolvent–protein systems is much more gradual than in pure D₂O, consistent with a distribution of energy barriers. The differences between the dynamic behaviors of the various cryosolvent protein solutions themselves are remarkably small. The results are consistent with a picture in which the picosecond-time scale atomic dynamics respond strongly to melting of pure water solvent but are relatively invariant in cryosolvents of differing compositions and melting points.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Reat, V., Dunn, R., Ferrand, M., Finney, J.L., Daniel, R.M. & Smith, J.C. (2000). Solvent dependence of dynamic transitions in protein solutions. PNAS, 97(18), 9961-9966.