The supramolecular aggregation of alpha-crystallin, the major protein of the eye lens, was investigated by means of static and dynamic light scattering. The aggregation was induced by generating heat-modified alpha-crystallin forms and by stabilizing the clusters with calcium ions. The kinetic pattern of the aggregation and the structural features of the clusters can be described according to the reaction limited cluster-cluster aggregation theory previously adopted for the study of colloidal particles aggregation systems. Accordingly, the average mass and the hydrodynamic radius of alpha-crystallin supramolecular aggregates grow exponentially in time. The structure factor of the clusters is typical of fractal aggregates. A fractal dimension df approximately 2.15 was determined, indicating a low probability of sticking together of the primitive aggregating particles. As a consequence, the slow-forming clusters assemble a rather compact structure. The basic units forming the fractal aggregates were found to have a radius about twice (approximately 17 nm) that of the native protein and 5.3 times its size, which is consistent with an intermediate molecular assembly corresponding to the already known high molecular weight forms of alpha-crystallin.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)2720-2727
Numero di pagine8
RivistaBiophysical Journal
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 1995


  • Animals
  • Calcium
  • Cattle
  • Crystallins
  • Kinetics
  • Lens, Crystalline
  • Light
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Scattering, Radiation


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