Publication Details

This article was originally published as Stadler, AM, Digel, I, Embs, JP, Unruh, T, Tehei, M, Zaccai, G, Büldt, G & Artmann, GM, From powder to solution: hydration dependence of human hemoglobin dynamics correlated to body temperature, Biophysical Journal, 96(12), 2009, 5073–5081. Original journal article available here.


A transition in hemoglobin (Hb), involving partial unfolding and aggregation, has been shown previously by various biophysical methods. The correlation between the transition temperature and body temperature for Hb from different species, suggested that it might be significant for biological function. In order to focus on such biologically relevant human Hb dynamics, we studied the protein internal picosecond motions as a response to hydration, by elastic and quasielastic neutron scattering. Rates of fast diffusive motions were found to be significantly enhanced with increasing hydration from fully hydrated powder to concentrated Hb solution. In concentrated protein solution, the data revealed that amino acid side-chains can explore larger volumes above body temperature than expected from normal temperature dependence. The body temperature transition in protein dynamics was absent in fully hydrated powder, indicating that picosecond protein dynamics responsible for the transition is activated only at a sufficient level of hydration. A collateral result from the study is that fully hydrated protein powder samples do not accurately describe all aspects of protein picosecond dynamics that might be necessary for biological function.



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