A Practical Guide on How Osmolytes Modulate Macromolecular Properties

Daniel Harries*, Jörg Rösgen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Osmolytes are a class of compounds ubiquitously used by living organisms to respond to cellular stress or to fine-tune molecular properties in the cell. These compounds are also highly useful in vitro. In this chapter, we give an overview of the possible uses of osmolytes in the laboratory, and how we can investigate and understand their modes of action. Experimental procedures are discussed with a specific emphasis on osmolyte-related aspects and on the theoretical aspects that are important to both introductory and more advanced interpretations of such experiments.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationBiophysical Tools for Biologists, Volume One
Subtitle of host publicationIn Vitro Techniques
EditorsJohn Correi, William Detrich, III
Number of pages57
StatePublished - 2008

Publication series

NameMethods in Cell Biology
ISSN (Print)0091-679X

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Adrian Parsegian and the people at the Laboratory of Physical and Structural Biology at the NIH as well as Wayne Bolen for numerous stimulating discussions. Many thanks to Nina Sidorova and Don Rau for their extensive contribution to Section II.B , Sergey Bezrukov for a figure and for his input to Section III.D , Horia Petrache for a figure in Section II.D , and to Rohit Pappu and Hoang Tran for providing example data for the structure of a denatured state ( Fig. 10 ). D.H. acknowledges support from the Israeli Council of Higher Education through an Alon Fellowship, and J.R. thanks the support by a fellowship from the W. M. Keck Foundation to the Gulf Coast Consortia through the Keck Center of Computational and Structural Biology, and by NIH (R01GM049760).


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