The key difference between denaturation and renaturation of protein is that denaturation is the loss of native 3D structure of a protein while renaturation is the conversion of denatured protein into its native 3D structure.
Proteins are one of the essential macromolecules present in living organisms. Important molecules such as enzymes, structural components and antibodies, etc. are proteins. In fact, proteins are an essential macronutrient. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. An amino acid sequence or a polypeptide chain forms interactions and folds into its quaternary structure or tertiary structure or secondary structure which is biologically active.
Once a protein attains its 3D structure, it becomes functional. Some factors can unfold or uncoil proteins. Therefore, denaturation is the process by which a protein loses its native 3D structure. Due to denaturation, proteins become biologically inactive. In contrast, renaturation is the process by which a denatured protein can be converted into its original 3D structure.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Denaturation of Protein
3. What is Renaturation of Protein
4. Similarities Between Denaturation and Renaturation of Protein
5. Side by Side Comparison – Denaturation vs Renaturation of Protein in Tabular Form
What is Denaturation of Protein?
Denaturation is a process by which a protein loses its quaternary structure, tertiary structure or secondary structure which makes it biologically active. During denaturation, the forces which hold the 3D structure of the protein molecule is disrupted. As a result, the protein molecule loses its natural properties and its biological activity. Proteins become biologically active due to protein folding. Denaturation causes unfolding of the polypeptide chain, leading to disorganization of the 3D structure of the protein. Once they lose their 3D structure, they become functionally inactive or nonfunctional.
Denaturation of proteins can be achieved by applying some external stress or compound such as a strong acid or base, a concentrated inorganic salt, an organic solvent, radiation or heat, etc. Cells die when the proteins of a cell are denatured. Most importantly, when a protein is denatured, it cannot fulfil its function. For example, when enzymes are denatured, they cannot catalyze biochemical reactions. They also show a loss of solubility to protein aggregation.
What is Renaturation of Protein?
Renaturation of a protein is the conversion of a denatured protein back into its native 3D structure. Therefore, it involves the reconstruction of a protein molecule after losing its original structure. Renaturation is the inverse process of denaturation. Renaturation is sometimes reversible. However, renaturation is not common and easy as denaturation. One way of renaturing a protein is removing the SDS and denaturing agents following denaturation during PAGE or IEF protein identification. When the physiological conditions are placed back, the protein folding may occur and restore its original 3D conformation.
What are the Similarities Between Denaturation and Renaturation of Protein?
- Renaturation is the inverse process of denaturation.
- Denaturation destroys the 3D structure while renaturation restores the 3D structure.
What is the Difference Between Denaturation and Renaturation of Protein?
Denaturation is the process of a protein losing its quaternary structure, tertiary structure or secondary structure, which makes it biologically active. On the other hand, renaturation is the conversion of a denatured protein into its native 3D structure. So, this is the key difference between denaturation and renaturation of protein.
Moreover, denaturation causes the loss of the biological function of a protein, while renaturation can restore the functional ability of a protein.
Below infographic shows more differences between denaturation and renaturation of protein.
Summary – Denaturation vs Renaturation of Protein
Denaturation and renaturation are two processes related mainly to proteins and nucleic acids. Due to denaturation, proteins lose their functional and biologically active 3D structure. In contrast, due to renaturation, a denatured protein gets its native 3D structure back. Thus, this is the key difference between denaturation and renaturation of protein.
1. Koshland, Daniel E., and Felix Haurowitz. “Protein Denaturation.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 20 Aug. 2020, Available here.
2. “Denaturation (Biochemistry).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Aug. 2020, Available here.