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What Causes The Denaturation of Proteins?

These biomolecules are required for the appropriate maintenance of bodies. The protein’s stability and structure depend on chemical and physical conditions.  

The several causes include: 

  1. pH and temperature affect their stability to a great extent. 
  2. Protein’s Denaturation is when a unique 3D structure of a protein gets exposed to some changes. 
  3. Due to temperature change, pH, or other chemical activities, the hydrogen bonds present in proteins get disturbed, resulting in the unfolding of globular proteins and helix structure’s uncoiling. 
  4. The uncoiling of helix structure affects the protein’s chemistry and leads to the loss of their biological activity. 
  5. During protein denaturation, the tertiary and secondary structures get destroyed, and only the primary one is retained. 
  6. Covalent bonds are broken, and the interaction between amino acid chains gets disrupted, which results in the loss of the biological activities of proteins. 

Protein Denaturation Processes!

  1. The secondary, tertiary, and quaternary protein structure is easily changed by a process known as Denaturation. However, these changes are pretty damaging. 
  2. Exposure to acid or bases, heating, and even violent physical action can cause Denaturation to occur. 
  3. The albumin protein in a white egg is denatured by heating to form a semisolid mass. 
  4. Denaturation of proteins can be done by bringing in some physical changes or the introduction of chemicals. 
  5. The Curdling of milk is another example of the Denaturation of proteins. 
  6. Most denaturation processes are irreversible. 
  7. A common cause of Denaturation of protein is the coagulation of white eggs when subjected to boiling. Here the Denaturation occurs with a temperature change.

Types of Denaturation!

Denaturation has two types that may be based on the cause: 

Biologically Induced Denaturation

Biologically induced denaturation is a form that takes place in biological systems. This incorporates the biologically essential DNA processes, including DNA repair, transcription, and repair. In these processes, a double-stranded DNA unwinds, and the two strands become partially separated, forming a so-called bubble.

Non-biologically induced Denaturation

The non-biologically induced Denaturation involves a process that is not biological. It is caused by other external means that can be physical or chemical. The chemicals like heavy metals and metalloids can disrupt the molecular structures and cause protein denaturation in different ways. 

For instance: the proteins are denatured when these chemicals oxidize the amino acid side chains or react through their functional side groups. Also, apart from directly disrupting the protein structure, the chemicals may induce Denaturation by changes in pH. 

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