Dewavrin J. Y., Abdurrahiem M., Blocki A., Musib M., Piazza F. and Raghunath M.
The Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2015) 119 (12) 4350-4358 - doi : 10.1021/jp5077559
publié le , mis à jour le
The competition for access to space that arises between macromolecules is the basis of the macromolecular crowding phenomenon, known to modulate biochemical reactions in subtle ways. Crowding is a highly conserved physiological condition in and around cells in metazoans, and originates from a mixture of heterogeneous biomolecules. Here, using collagen fibrillogenesis as an experimental test platform and ideas from the theory of nonideal solutions, we show that an entropy-based synergy is created by a mixture of two different populations of artificial crowders, providing small crowders with extra volume occupancy when in the vicinity of bigger crowders. We present the physiological mechanism by which synergistic effects maximize volume exclusion with the minimum amount of heterogeneous crowders, demonstrating how the evolutionarily optimized crowded conditions found in vivo can be reproduced effectively in vitro.