Neutron scattering measurements of intact cells show changes after heat shock consistent with an increase in molecular crowding

Robert C. Ford, Stuart V. Ruffle, Ilias Michalarias, Ilir Beta, Anibal J. Ramirez-Cuesta, Jichen Li

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Molecular crowding has been shown to be important in many cellular processes. The crowded environment in the cell results in a significant proportion of the cellular water being in contact with macromolecules such as proteins and DNA. These interfacial water molecules show a reduced dynamic motion that has been observed with isolated macromolecules using several biophysical techniques. Previously we investigated the inelastic neutron scattering properties of water closely associated with isolated biomolecules, and showed that interfacial water is strongly perturbed, as judged by its energy transfer spectrum. Here we have probed living cells using inelastic and quasielastic neutron scattering. We have found that mild heat stress ('heat shock'), which causes some proteins to become unfolded in the cell, results in changes in the inelastic neutron scattering in the librational region (45-130 meV). Heat shock also causes a narrowing of the quasielastic scattering peak. These changes can be understood in terms of an increase in the proportion of interfacial water molecules, and a net reduction in proton dynamics. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)505-511
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Molecular Recognition
    Volume17
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2004

    Keywords

    • Heat shock
    • Interfacial water
    • Molecular crowding
    • Neutron scattering

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