Weak Shape Anisotropy Leads to a Nonmonotonic Contribution to Crowding, Impacting Protein Dynamics under Physiologically Relevant Conditions

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The effect of a nonspherical particle shape on the dynamics in crowded solutions presents a significant challenge for a comprehensive understanding of interaction and structural relaxation in biological and soft matter. We report that small deviations from a spherical shape induce a nonmonotonic contribution to the crowding effect on the short-time cage diffusion compared with spherical systems, using molecular dynamics simulations with mesoscale hydrodynamics of a multiparticle collision dynamics fluid in semidilute systems with volume fractions smaller than 0.35. We show that the nonmonotonic effect due to anisotropy is caused by the combination of a reduced relative mobility over the entire concentration range and a looser and less homogeneous cage packing of nonspherical particles. Our finding stresses that nonsphericity induces new complexity, which cannot be accounted for in effective sphere models, and is of great interest in applications such as formulations as well as for the fundamental understanding of soft matter in general and crowding effects in living cells in particular.


External organisations
  • Jülich Research Centre
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Physical Chemistry Part B
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch