Denaturation of Proteins

Topics: Protein, Alpha helix, Secondary structure Pages: 2 (647 words) Published: November 6, 2008
Denaturation of proteins involves the disruption and possible destruction of both the secondary and tertiary structures. Since denaturation reactions are not strong enough to break the peptide bonds, the primary structure (sequence of amino acids) remains the same after a denaturation process. Denaturation disrupts the normal alpha-helix and beta sheets in a protein and uncoils it into a random shape. Denaturation occurs because the bonding interactions responsible for the secondary structure (hydrogen bonds to amides) and tertiary structure are disrupted. In tertiary structure there are four types of bonding interactions between "side chains" including: hydrogen bonding, salt bridges, disulfide bonds, and non-polar hydrophobic interactions. which may be disrupted. Heat: Heat can be used to disrupt hydrogen bonds and non-polar hydrophobic interactions. This occurs because heat increases the kinetic energy and causes the molecules to vibrate so rapidly and violently that the bonds are disrupted. The proteins in eggs denature and coagulate during cooking. Other foods are cooked to denature the proteins to make it easier for enzymes to digest them. Medical supplies and instruments are sterilized by heating to denature proteins in bacteria and thus destroy the bacteria.

As the temperature is increased, a number of bonds in the protein molecule are weakened. The first affected are the long range interactions that are necessary for the presence of tertiary structure. As these bonds are first weakened and are broken, the protein obtains a more flexible structure and the groups are exposed to solvent. As heating continues, some of the cooperative hydrogen bonds that stabilize helical structure will begin to break. As these bonds are broken, water can interact with and form new hydrogen bonds with the amine group and carboxyl group of the peptide bonds. As the helical structure is broken, hydrophobic groups are exposed to the solvent.

The effect of exposure of...
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