International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Vol.10, No.3, 1314-1345, 2009
Mechanism of Suppression of Protein Aggregation by alpha-Crystallin
This review summarizes experimental data illuminating the mechanism of suppression of heat-induced protein aggregation by alpha-crystallin, one of the small heat shock proteins. The dynamic light scattering data show that the initial stage of thermal aggregation of proteins is the formation of the initial aggregates involving hundreds of molecules of the denatured protein. Further sticking of the starting aggregates proceeds in a regime of diffusion-limited cluster-cluster aggregation. The protective effect of alpha-crystallin is due to transition of the aggregation process to the regime of reaction-limited cluster-cluster aggregation, wherein the sticking probability for the colliding particles becomes lower than unity.