Polyelectrolyte-protein complexation driven by charge regulation

Fernando Luis Barroso da Silva, Bo Jönsson

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74 Citations (SciVal)


The interplay between the biocolloidal characteristics (especially size and charge), pH, salt concentration and the thermal energy results in a unique collection of mesoscopic forces of importance to the molecular organization and function in biological systems. By means of Monte Carlo simulations and semi-quantitative analysis in terms of perturbation theory, we describe a general electrostatic mechanism that gives attraction at low electrolyte concentrations. This charge regulation mechanism due to titrating amino acid residues is discussed in a purely electrostatic framework. The complexation data reported here for interaction between a polyelectrolyte chain and the proteins albumin, goat and bovine alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, insulin, k-casein, lysozyme and pectin methylesterase illustrate the importance of the charge regulation mechanism. Special attention is given to pH congruent to pI where ion-dipole and charge regulation interactions could overcome the repulsive ion-ion interaction. By means of protein mutations, we confirm the importance of the charge regulation mechanism, and quantify when the complexation is dominated either by charge regulation or by the ion-dipole term.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2862-2868
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Theoretical Chemistry (S) (011001039)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Theoretical Chemistry


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