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Biomolecules 2015, 5(4), 2435-2463; doi:10.3390/biom5042435

Physicochemical Properties of Ion Pairs of Biological Macromolecules

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Sealy Center for Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jürg Bähler
Received: 1 July 2015 / Revised: 9 September 2015 / Accepted: 11 September 2015 / Published: 30 September 2015
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Ion pairs (also known as salt bridges) of electrostatically interacting cationic and anionic moieties are important for proteins and nucleic acids to perform their function. Although numerous three-dimensional structures show ion pairs at functionally important sites of biological macromolecules and their complexes, the physicochemical properties of the ion pairs are not well understood. Crystal structures typically show a single state for each ion pair. However, recent studies have revealed the dynamic nature of the ion pairs of the biological macromolecules. Biomolecular ion pairs undergo dynamic transitions between distinct states in which the charged moieties are either in direct contact or separated by water. This dynamic behavior is reasonable in light of the fundamental concepts that were established for small ions over the last century. In this review, we introduce the physicochemical concepts relevant to the ion pairs and provide an overview of the recent advancement in biophysical research on the ion pairs of biological macromolecules. View Full-Text
Keywords: dynamics; electrostatic interactions; electrostriction; entropy; free energy; ion pairs; nucleic acids; proteins; salt bridges dynamics; electrostatic interactions; electrostriction; entropy; free energy; ion pairs; nucleic acids; proteins; salt bridges

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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

Iwahara, J.; Esadze, A.; Zandarashvili, L. Physicochemical Properties of Ion Pairs of Biological Macromolecules. Biomolecules 2015, 5, 2435-2463.

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