Solvent mobility and the protein 'glass' transition

Nat Struct Biol. 2000 Jan;7(1):34-8. doi: 10.1038/71231.


Proteins and other biomolecules undergo a dynamic transition near 200 K to a glass-like solid state with small atomic fluctuations. This dynamic transition can inhibit biological function. To provide a deeper understanding of the relative importance of solvent mobility and the intrinsic protein energy surface in the transition, a novel molecular dynamics simulation procedure with the protein and solvent at different temperatures has been used. Solvent mobility is shown to be the dominant factor in determining the atomic fluctuations above 180 K, although intrinsic protein effects become important at lower temperatures. The simulations thus complement experimental studies by demonstrating the essential role of solvent in controlling functionally important protein fluctuations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation*
  • Freezing
  • Glass / chemistry
  • Hot Temperature
  • Kinetics
  • Myoglobin / chemistry*
  • Myoglobin / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Solvents / chemistry*
  • Solvents / metabolism
  • Temperature
  • Thermodynamics
  • Viscosity
  • Water / metabolism


  • Myoglobin
  • Solvents
  • carboxymyoglobin
  • Water