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Keywords:

  • protein;
  • water;
  • solution;
  • freezing;
  • neutron scattering

ABSTRACT

Recent studies have outlined the use of eutectic solutions of lithium chloride in water to study microscopic dynamics of lysozyme in an aqueous solvent that is remarkably similar to pure water in many respects, yet allows experiments over a wide temperature range without solvent crystallization. The eutectic point in a (H2O)R(LiCl) system corresponds to R ≈ 7.3, and it is of interest to investigate whether less-concentrated aqueous solutions of LiCl could be used in low-temperature studies of a solvated protein. We have investigated a range of concentrations of lysozyme and LiCl in aqueous solutions to identify systems that do not show phase separation and avoid solvent crystallization on cooling down. Compared to the lysozyme concentration in solution, the concentration of LiCl in the aqueous solvent plays the major role in determining systems suitable for low-temperature studies. We have observed interesting and rich phase behavior reminiscent of reentrant condensation of proteins. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers 101: 624–629, 2014.