New clues to how proteins dissolve and crystallize

Monday, May 12, 2008 - 20:35 in Biology & Nature

X-ray spectroscopy shows that a protein acetate group (molecule at center) prefers binding with sodium (blue curve) over potassium (red curve); the green sphere represents a cation, with surrounding water molecules in white. Credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, figure by Janel Uejio In the late 19th century the Czech scientist Franz Hofmeister observed that some salts (ionic compounds) aided the solution of proteins in egg white, some caused the proteins to destabilize and precipitate, and others ranged in activity between these poles.

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