Biological molecules experience in vivo a highly crowded environment. The investigation of the functional properties of the tryptophan synthase alpha(2)beta(2) complex either entrapped in wet nanoporous silica gels or in the presence of the crowding agents dextran 70 and ficoll 70 indicates that the rates of the conformational transitions associated to catalysis and regulation are reduced, and an open and less catalytically active conformation is stabilized. (c) 2005 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.
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