Effects of temperature on protein structure and dynamics: X-ray crystallographic studies of the protein ribonuclease-A at nine different temperatures from 98 to 320 K

Biochemistry. 1992 Mar 10;31(9):2469-81. doi: 10.1021/bi00124a006.


Structures using X-ray diffraction data collected to 1.5-A resolution have been determined for the protein ribonuclease-A at nine different temperatures ranging from 98 to 320 K. It is determined that the protein molecule expands slightly (0.4% per 100 K) with increasing temperature and that this expansion is linear. The expansion is due primarily to subtle repacking of the molecule, with exposed and mobile loop regions exhibiting the largest movements. Individual atomic Debye-Waller factors exhibit predominantly biphasic behavior, with a small positive slope at low temperatures and a larger positive slope at higher temperatures. The break in this curve occurs at a characteristic temperature of 180-200 K, perhaps indicative of fundamental changes in the dynamical structure of the surrounding protein solvent. The distribution of protein Debye-Waller factors is observed to broaden as well as shift to higher values as the temperature is increased.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry, Physical
  • Crystallization
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Protein Conformation
  • Ribonuclease, Pancreatic / chemistry*
  • Temperature
  • Thermodynamics
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Ribonuclease, Pancreatic