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Protein--water interactions. Heat capacity of the lysozyme--water system


, : Protein--water interactions. Heat capacity of the lysozyme--water system. Biochemistry 18(12): 2654-2661

Calorimetric measurements of the heat capacity of the lysozyme-water system have been carried out over the full range of system composition at 25 degrees C. The partial specific heat capacity of the protein in dilute solution is 1.483 +/- 0.009 J K-1 g-1. The heat capacity of the dry protein is 1.26 +/- 0.01 J K-1 g-1. The system heat capacity responds linearly to change in composition from dilute solution to 0.38 g of water per g of protein (h) and is an irregular function at lower water content. The break in the heat capacity function at 0.38 h defines the amount of water needed to develop the equilibrium solution properties of lysozyme as being 300 molecules of water/protein molecule, just sufficient for monolayer coverage. The heat capacity behavior at low water content describes three hydration regions. The most tightly bound water (0-0.07 h), probably principally bound to charged groups, is characterized by a partial specific heat capacity of 2.3 J K-1 g-1, a value close to that for ice. A heat of reaction associated with proton redistribution is reflected in the heat capacity function for the low-hydration region. Between 0.07 and 0.25 h the heat capacity increases strongly, which is understood to reflect the growth of patches of water covering polar and adjacent nonpolar portions of the protein surface. The hydration shell is completed by condensation of solvent over the weak-interacting portions of the surface, in a process displaying a transition heat.

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PMID: 444485


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