A look into the crowded bacterial cytoplasm at high temperatures

In a paper just published in ACS Central Science—the result of joint work with scientists from France and Italy—we combine extensive molecular simulations with neutron scattering measurements to characterize the dynamical state of the E. coli cytoplasm in a wide range of temperatures. We show that the thermal cell death is accompanied by a slowdown in protein motions. At the same time, our work reveals that this rather drastic slowdown is caused by the unfolding of just a small fraction of proteins found in the bacterium.