Cation-Induced Hydration Effects Cause Lower Critical Solution Temperature Behavior in Protein Solutions
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
The phase behavior of protein solutions is important for numerous phenomena in biology and soft matter. We report a lower critical solution temperature (LCST) phase behavior of aqueous solutions of a globular protein induced by multivalent metal ions around physiological temperatures. The LCST behavior manifests itself via a liquid-liquid phase separation of the protein-salt solution upon heating. Isothermal titration calorimetry and zeta-potential measurements indicate that here cation-protein binding is an endothermic, entropy-driven process. We offer a mechanistic explanation of the LCST. First, cations bind to protein surface groups driven by entropy changes of hydration water. Second, the bound cations bridge to other protein molecules, inducing an entropy-driven attraction causing the LCST. Our findings have general implications for condensation, LCST, and hydration behavior of (bio)polymer solutions as well as the understanding of biological effects of (heavy) metal ions and their hydration.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Physical Chemistry B|
|Publication status||Published - 2016 Aug 11|