A possible mechanism for cold denaturation of proteins at high pressure

Physics – Condensed Matter – Soft Condensed Matter

Scientific paper

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4 pages for double column and single space. 3 figures Added references Changed content

Scientific paper

10.1103/PhysRevLett.91.138103

We study cold denaturation of proteins at high pressures. Using multicanonical Monte Carlo simulations of a model protein in a water bath, we investigate the effect of water density fluctuations on protein stability. We find that above the pressure where water freezes to the dense ice phase ($\approx2$ kbar), the mechanism for cold denaturation with decreasing temperature is the loss of local low-density water structure. We find our results in agreement with data of bovine pancreatic ribonuclease A.

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