This study is a systematic attempt to understand the roles of non-compatible osmolytes, i.e. solutes that have inhibitory effects on enzymes, in the stabilization of proteins against denaturing stress. Thermal denaturation of RNase A, holo-α-lactalbumin, apo-α-lactalbumin, lysozyme and metmyoglobin in the absence and presence of various concentrations of free basic amino acids was studied by observing changes in the absorption coefficients of these proteins. It has been observed that arginine and histidine destabilize all proteins in terms of the midpoint of the transition curve and Gibbs energy change on denaturation. Study of the heat-induced denaturation of the proteins in the presence of various concentrations of arginine at different pH values demonstrated that arginine binds to the denatured molecules. In contrast with the effect of arginine and histidine on protein stability, it was observed that the effect of lysine on proteins stability is unpredictable, i.e. it may have a stabilizing effect, no effect or a destabilizing effect on proteins during denaturing stress. The results of this study are considered from an evolutionary perspective.

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