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Thermodynamics of Protein Stability

It is clear that proteins are not all that stable, and many contributions of varying magnitudes must sum to give the proteins marginal stability under physiological conditions.Hydrophobic interaction, defined in the new sense, must play a major role in stability. Also, since proteins are so highly packed compared to a lose denatured state, London Forces must also play a significant part. (Remember dispersion forces are short range and become most significant under conditions of closest packing.) Opposing folding is the chain conformational entropy just described. Since proteins are so marginally stable, even one unpaired buried ionic side chain, or 1-2 unpaired buried H bond donors and acceptors in the protein may be enough to "unravel" the native structure, leading to the denatured state.

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