This book describes several approaches to biological phenomena based on thermodynamics and illustrates the descriptive and predictive power of the laws that govern molecular recognition in biological systems. The current structural emphasis in the study of biological macromolecules provides the motivation for a deeper understanding of the driving forces that determine biological interactions. Because molecular explanations of biological phenomena as inferred from structural information must be informed by and consistent with the laws and principles of thermodynamics, a thorough understanding of biological function requires approaches well balanced between structure and energetics. Topics covered in this book are protein and nucleic acid folding and stablility, enzyme-substrate interactions, prediction of the affinity of complexes, electrostatics, and non-equilibrium aspects of protein function. The breadth of the topics covered illustrates the growing importance of thermodynamic approaches in the study of biological phenomena.
As more information continues to emerge from structural studies, and faster and more accurate computational methods are developed, we will look at biological thermodynamics with renewed interest as a fundamental tool to decipher the rules for specificity and function in proteins and nucleic acids.show more