Journal of Physical Chemistry B, Vol.115, No.22, 7238-7247, 2011
Lysozyme Protein Solution with an Intermediate Range Order Structure
The formation of equilibrium clusters has been studied in both a prototypical colloidal system and protein solutions. The appearance of a low-Q correlation peak in small angle scattering patterns of lysozyme solution was attributed to the cluster cluster correlation. Consequently, the presence of long-lived clusters has been established. By quantitatively analyzing both the SANS (small angle neutron scattering) and NSE (neutron spin echo) data of lysozyme solution using statistical mechanics models, we conclusively show in this paper that the appearance of a low-Q peak is not a signature of the formation of clusters. Rather, it is due to the formation of an intermediate range order structure governed by a short-range attraction and a long-range repulsion. We have further studied dynamic features of a sample with high enough concentration at which clusters are formed in solution. From the estimation of the mean square displacement by using short-time and long-time diffusion coefficient measured by NSE and NMR, we find that these clusters are not permanent but have a finite lifetime longer than the time required to diffuse over a distance of a monomer diameter.