Istituto di Biofisica     
Strambini G. B., Gabellieri E. Proteins in frozen solutions: evidence of ice-induced partial unfolding. In: Biophysical Journal, vol. 70 pp. 971 - 976. Biophysical Society, 1996.
From a drastic decrease in the phosphorescence lifetime of tryptophan residues buried in compact rigid cores of globular proteins, it was possible to demonstrate that freezing of aqueous solutions is invariably accompanied by a marked loosening of the native fold, an alteration that entails considerable loss of secondary and tertiary structure. The phenomenon is largely reversible on ice melting although, in some cases, a small fraction of macromolecules recovers neither the initial phosphorescence properties nor the catalytic activity. The variation in the lifetime parameter was found to be a smooth function of the residual volume of liquid water in equilibrium with ice and to depend on the morphology of ice. The addition of cryoprotectants such as glycerol and sucrose profoundly attenuates or even eliminates the perturbation. These results are interpreted in terms of adsorption of protein molecules onto the surface of ice.
URL: http://www.biophysj.org/cgi/content/abstract/70/2/971?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&author1=strambini&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=10&resourcetype=HWCIT

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