Termination of Biological Function at Low Temperatures: Glass or Structural Transition?

Salman Seyedi, Dmitry Matyushov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Energy of life is produced by electron transfer in energy chains of respiration or photosynthesis. A small input of free energy available to biology puts significant restrictions on how much free energy can be lost in each electron-transfer reaction. We advocate the view that breaking ergodicity, leading to violation of the fluctuation-dissipation theorem (FDT), is how proteins achieve high reaction rates without sacrificing the reaction free energy. Here we show that a significant level of nonergodicity, represented by a large extent of the configurational temperature over the kinetic temperature, is maintained in the entire physiological range for the cytochrome c electron transfer protein. The protein returns to the state consistent with the FDT below the crossover temperature close to the temperature of the protein glass transition. This crossover leads to a sharp increase in the activation barrier of electron transfer and is displayed by a kink in the Arrhenius plot for the reaction rate constant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2359-2366
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 3 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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