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A postreductionist framework for protein biochemistry

As biochemistry ventures out from its reductionist roots, concentration effects and high surface-to-volume ratios will challenge our current understanding of biological systems, with colloidal and surface chemistry leading to new insights and approaches. How must our thinking change, what new tools will we need and how will these new tools be developed?

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Figure 1: To-scale drawing of E. coli cytosol illustrates the problems faced in developing a framework for postreductionist biochemistry: the high concentration of a diverse mixture of proteins leads to a chemically complicated system in which there is little bulk water.
Figure 2: Proximity energy profile for the approach of two identical proteins with a net charge of 10 and charge-dipole amplitude of 0.01 kilojoules mol−1 coulomb−1 debye−1.

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Correspondence to Tom Laue or Borries Demeler.

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T.L. is co-owner of Spin Analytical, which is producing the new analytical ultracentrifuge.

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Laue, T., Demeler, B. A postreductionist framework for protein biochemistry. Nat Chem Biol 7, 331–334 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/nchembio.575

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