Flexibility of Globular Proteins in Water as Revealed by Compressibility

  • Kunihiko Gekko
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 302)


In order to elucidate the flexibility-structure-function relationships of proteins, the adiabatic compressibility of about 30 globular proteins, including food proteins, was determined by means of sound velocity and density measurements in aqueous solutions. Most proteins studied showed positive compressibility, indicating the large internal flexibility of the molecules. The volume fluctuation was in the range of 30–200 ml/mol, which corresponded to about 0.3% of the total protein volume. From the statistical analyses of the compressibility data, it was found that the flexibility of proteins is closely related to structural factors such as hydrophobicity, helix element, and amino acid composition, and to functional properties such as digestibility and foaming capacity. These results indicate that the dynamics of protein structure should be taken into account in predicting precisely the functions and properties of a protein from its primary or tertiary structure.


Globular Protein Isothermal Compressibility Volume Fluctuation Accessible Surface Area Adiabatic Compressibility 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kunihiko Gekko
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of AgricultureNagoya UniversityNagoya 464Japan

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