New insight into cataract formation: Enhanced stability through mutual attraction
Small-angle neutron scattering experiments and molecular dynamics simulations combined with an application of concepts from soft matter physics to complex protein mixtures provide new insight into the stability of eye lens protein mixtures. Exploring this colloid-protein analogy we demonstrate that weak attractions between unlike proteins help to maintain lens transparency in an extremely sensitive and nonmonotonic manner. These results not only represent an important step towards a better understanding of protein condensation diseases such as cataract formation, but provide general guidelines for tuning the stability of colloid mixtures, a topic relevant for soft matter physics and industrial applications. © 2007 The American Physical Society.