Size matters

A fifty-year old protein paradox has been solved by researchers in the US. The team can now predict accurately through computational work how volume will change for a given protein between its folded and unfolded state. The study might shed light on the inner workings of life under pressure in the ocean depths and could have implications for understanding alien biochemistry should we ever identify life on other planets. Some proteins can survive crushing pressures by staying folded yet others unfold when the pressure is on. This seeming protein volume paradox dates back to the first X-ray structures of proteins from about the middle of the twentieth century.