Albany 2019: 20th Conversation - Abstracts

category image Albany 2019
Conversation 20
June 11-15 2019
Adenine Press (2019)

Understanding protein behavior in cells

The crowded and complex environment in cells is predicted to affect protein behavior compared to dilute buffer. Some predictions may not be correct. We have examined crowding effects on the stability of proteins and their complexes. I will focus on equilibrium data acquired in concentrated solutions of cosolutes and in living Escherichia coli cells. The cosolutes include synthetic polymers and their monomers, other proteins and lyophilized cytosol. The results show that crowding affects stability and binding, but not always as predicted by simple theory. The differences point to opportunities for theoretical efforts and simulations.

Our research is supported by the National Science Foundation (MCB 1410854 and CHE 1607359) and the National Institutes of Health (R01GM127291). GJP thanks the K.C. Wong Education Foundation for travel support.


    Smith, A. E., Zhou, L. Z., Gorensek, A. H., Senske, M., and Pielak, G. J. (2016) In-cell thermodynamics and a new role for protein surfaces. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 113, 1725-1730.

    Guseman, A. J., Perez Goncalves, G. M., Speer, S. L., Young, G. B., and Pielak, G. J. (2018) Protein shape modulates crowding effects. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 115, 10965-10970.

    Guseman, A. J., Speer, S. L., Perez Goncalves, G. M., and Pielak, G. J. (2018) Surface charge modulates protein-protein interactions in physiologically relevant environments. Biochemistry 57, 1681-1684.

Gary J. Pielak

Department of Chemistry
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Ph: (919) 962-4495
Email: gary_pielak@unc.edu