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Jun 8 – 11, 2021 Online only
Europe/Berlin timezone
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Effects of glassy matrices on the protein-like dynamical transition of PNIPAM

Jun 9, 2021, 1:00 PM
Poster Protein structure, function and dynamics Poster Session


Benedetta Petra Rosi (Department of Physics and Geology, University of Perugia, Italy)


Hydrated proteins undergo a dynamical transition (DT) at $T_d$ ≈ 180-230 K. The transition is associated with the activation of protein dynamics on the ps-ns time scale, suitably detected by Elastic Incoherent Neutron Scattering (EINS). The DT has been also observed in other biomolecules and is deemed necessary for biological functionality. Surprisingly, a DT has been recently found in a non-biological system, i.e. poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM). Despite its synthetic nature, PNIPAM is able to reproduce the complex solvent-macromolecule interactions at the basis of biological processes. The generality associated with the observation of the DT suggests a prominent role of the solvent. In proteins, the main features of the DT are critically affected by the presence of stabilizing compounds. The formation of a glassy stabilizing matrix inhibits the protein mobility by shifting $T_d$ toward higher temperatures and by reducing the amplitude of associated protein motions. Interestingly, the constraining action on protein fast dynamics is thought to be related to the bioprotectant ability promoted by stabilizers over longer timescales, although the microscopic details of these processes are unclear. By means of EINS techniques, we exploited the bio-mimic behaviour of PNIPAM by investigating the fast dynamics of PNIPAM chains when in presence of water/stabilizer mixtures. As in proteins, we found a tight connection between polymer dynamics and characteristics of the solvent.

Primary authors

Benedetta Petra Rosi (Department of Physics and Geology, University of Perugia, Italy) Arianna D'Angelo (CNRS-Orsay) Alessandro Paciaroni (University of Perugia) Marco Zanatta (University of Trento) Francesca Natali (ILL) Michaela Zamponi (MLZ) Daria Noferini (ESS) Silvia Corezzi (University of Perugia) Lucia Comez (CNR-IOM, University of Perugia) Caterina Petrillo (University of Perugia) Francesco Sacchetti (University of Perugia) Andrea Orecchini (University of Perugia)

Presentation materials