Osmolyte-Induced Folding and Stability of Proteins: Concepts and Characterization

Document Type: Review Paper

Authors

1 Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of Drug and Food Control, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

It is well-known that the typical protein’s three-dimensional structure is relatively unstable in harsh conditions. A practical approach to maintain the folded state and thus improve the stability and activity of proteins in unusual circumstances is to directly apply stabilizing substances such as osmolytes to the protein-containing solutions. Osmolytes as natural occurring organic molecules typically called “compatible” solutes, based on the concept that they do not perturb cellular components. However, urea and guanidine hydrochloride (GuHCl) as denaturing osmolytes destabilize many macromolecular structures and inhibit functions. Several studies have been so far performed to explain the actual interaction of an osmolyte with a protein. The present review is aimed to achieve a collective knowledge of the progress arise in the field of osmolyte-protein interactions. The following is also an overview of the main techniques to measure protein stability in the presence of osmolytes.

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