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Molecules 2015, 20(1), 1377-1409; doi:10.3390/molecules20011377

Beyond the Excluded Volume Effects: Mechanistic Complexity of the Crowded Milieu

1
Laboratory of Structural Dynamics, Stability and Folding of Proteins, Institute of Cytology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 4 Tikhoretsky Ave., St. Petersburg 194064, Russia
2
St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University, 29 Polytechnicheskaya st., St. Petersburg 195251, Russia
3
Cleveland Diagnostics, 3615 Superior Ave., Suite 4407B, Cleveland, OH 44114, USA
4
Department of Molecular Medicine and USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Research Institute, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. MDC07, Tampa, FL 33612, USA
5
Biology Department, Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box 80203, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Derek J. McPhee
Received: 23 December 2014 / Accepted: 9 January 2015 / Published: 14 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Metabolites)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [777 KB, uploaded 14 January 2015]

Abstract

Macromolecular crowding is known to affect protein folding, binding of small molecules, interaction with nucleic acids, enzymatic activity, protein-protein interactions, and protein aggregation. Although for a long time it was believed that the major mechanism of the action of crowded environments on structure, folding, thermodynamics, and function of a protein can be described in terms of the excluded volume effects, it is getting clear now that other factors originating from the presence of high concentrations of “inert” macromolecules in crowded solution should definitely be taken into account to draw a more complete picture of a protein in a crowded milieu. This review shows that in addition to the excluded volume effects important players of the crowded environments are viscosity, perturbed diffusion, direct physical interactions between the crowding agents and proteins, soft interactions, and, most importantly, the effects of crowders on solvent properties. View Full-Text
Keywords: macromolecular crowding; excluded volume effect; viscosity; soft interactions; solvent properties; aqueous two-phase system; partition macromolecular crowding; excluded volume effect; viscosity; soft interactions; solvent properties; aqueous two-phase system; partition
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kuznetsova, I.M.; Zaslavsky, B.Y.; Breydo, L.; Turoverov, K.K.; Uversky, V.N. Beyond the Excluded Volume Effects: Mechanistic Complexity of the Crowded Milieu. Molecules 2015, 20, 1377-1409.

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