Received June 23, 1997
Biophysical and thermodynamic properties of various partially folded forms of proteins are considered which can be obtained by (a) removal of prosthetic groups, (b) acid denaturation, (c) melting of subdomain-containing proteins, and (d) selective cleavage of disulfides. The examples of alpha-lactalbumin and myoglobin will be discussed in more detail. The existence of both co-operative and gradual transitions is shown. The results do not support the idea that the molten globule represents a distinct thermodynamic state.
KEY WORDS: alpha-lactalbumin, myoglobin, thermodynamics of protein denaturation, differential scanning calorimetry, circular dichroism