Swelling from the Perspective of Molecular Assemblies and Single Functioning Biomolecules

  • V. Adrian Parsegian
  • R. Peter Rand
  • Donald C. Rau
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 64)


Given the origins of life in an aqueous milieu and the importance of the internal aqueous environment, it is no surprise that the hydration and swelling of biomolecules is a central feature of their organization and function. Through direct measurement of intermolecular forces in aqueous solutions, we have come to recognize new ways in which nature achieves the controlled swelling essential to living matter. In this paper we will outline how we see that nature may make use of similar hydration/dehydration energetics in controlling single-molecular kinetics as she does in controlling molecular assembly. We summarize what seem to be universal principal features of hydration. In many different kinds of systems these features allow us to see how the swelling energetics of living matter not only compares with that in inanimate systems but also can be quantitatively probed with great sensitivity by using osmotic stress.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Adrian Parsegian
    • 1
  • R. Peter Rand
    • 2
  • Donald C. Rau
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Biological Sciences Brock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada

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