Biochemistry (Moscow)

, Volume 69, Issue 11, pp 1239–1251 | Cite as

Biochemical effects of molecular crowding

  • N. A. Chebotareva
  • B. I. Kurganov
  • N. B. Livanova


Cell cytoplasm contains high concentrations of high-molecular-weight components that occupy a substantial part of the volume of the medium (crowding conditions). The effect of crowding on biochemical processes proceeding in the cell (conformational transitions of biomacromolecules, assembling of macromolecular structures, protein folding, protein aggregation, etc.) is discussed in this review. The excluded volume concept, which allows the effects of crowding on biochemical reactions to be quantitatively described, is considered. Experimental data demonstrating the biochemical effects of crowding imitated by both low-molecular-weight and high-molecular-weight crowding agents are summarized.

Key word

excluded volume crowding protein folding association denaturation aggregation 



D glyceraldehyde 3 phosphate dehydrogenase


protein disulfide isomerase


polyethylene glycol


trimethylamine N-oxide




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Copyright information

© MAIK “Nauka/Interperiodica” 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. A. Chebotareva
    • 1
  • B. I. Kurganov
    • 1
  • N. B. Livanova
    • 1
  1. 1.Russian Academy of SciencesBach Institute of BiochemistryMoscowRussia

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