1. If dilute solutions of purified trypsin of low salt concentration at pH from 1 to 7 are heated to 100°C. for 1 to 5 minutes and then cooled to 20°C. there is no loss of activity or formation of denatured protein. If the hot trypsin solution is added directly to cold salt solution, on the other hand, all the protein precipitates and the supernatant solution is inactive.
2. The per cent of the total protein and activity present in the soluble form decreases from 100 per cent to zero as the temperature is raised from 20°C. to 60°C. and increases again from zero to 100 per cent as the solution is cooled from 60°C. to 20°C. The per cent of the total protein present in the soluble (native) form at any one temperature is nearly the same whether the temperature is reached from above or below.
3. If trypsin solutions at pH 7 are heated for increasing lengths of time at various temperatures and analyzed for total activity and total protein nitrogen after cooling, and for soluble activity and soluble (native) protein nitrogen, it is found that the soluble activity and soluble protein nitrogen decrease more and more rapidly as the temperature is raised, in agreement with the usual effects of temperature on the denaturation of protein. The total protein and total activity, on the other hand, decrease more and more rapidly up to about 70°C. but as the temperature is raised above this there is less rapid change in the total protein or total activity and at 92°C. the solutions are much more stable than at 42°C.
4. Casein and peptone are not digested by trypsin at 100°C. but when this digestion mixture is cooled to 35°C. rapid digestion occurs. A solution of trypsin at 100°C. added to peptone solution at zero degree digests the peptone much less rapidly than it does if the trypsin solution is allowed to cool slowly before adding it to the peptone solution.
5. The precipitate of insoluble protein obtained from adding hot trypsin solutions to cold salt solutions contains the S-S groups in free form as is usual for denatured protein.
6. The results show that there is an equilibrium between native and denatured trypsin protein the extent of which is determined by the temperature. Above 60°C. the protein is in the denatured and inactive form and below 20°C. it is in the native and active form. The equilibrium is attained rapidly. The results also show that the formation of denatured protein is proportional to the loss in activity and that the re-formation of native protein is proportional to the recovery of activity of the enzyme. This is strong evidence for the conclusion that the proteolytic activity of the preparation is a property of the native protein molecule.