1. An extensive investigation has been made of protein particle shape using the methods of flow-birefringence and anomalous viscosity measurement in the coaxial cell.
2. As a result of investigations on a number of proteins, it is concluded that they may be divided into four groups.
Group A consists of those which show flow-anomaly both in the bulk phase and in the surface film. These also show flow-birefringence in the bulk phase. Examples: tobacco mosaic disease virus nucleoprotein; myosin. Though corpuscular proteins, they have elongated particles before denaturation.
Group B consists of those which show flow-anomaly only (in the first instance) in the surface film, and no flow-birefringence in the bulk phase. They are probably close to spherical in shape in solution, but form elongated particles as they denature in the surface film. After this process has been completed, they may show flow-anomaly also in the bulk phase. Some proteins show flow-anomaly in the surface film immediately it forms, others only show it after a certain time has elapsed for the building up of the film. We designate the former as group B1 and the latter as group B2.
Group B1, immediate surface film flow-anomaly. Examples: serum euglobulin, amphibian embryo euglobulin b.
Group B2, slowly appearing surface film flow-anomaly. After the film has once been fully formed and then dispersed by shaking, the solution may have the properties of that of a protein in group B1; i.e., anomalous flow in the film may occur immediately on testing in the viscosimeter. Examples: avian ovalbumin, amphibian embryo pseudoglobulin.
Group C consists of those proteins which show flow-anomaly neither in the bulk phase nor in the surface film, under the conditions used by us. They are probably close to spherical in shape. Examples: insulin, methaemoglobin, amphibian embryo euglobulin c, mucoproteins.
3. The theoretical significance of protein fibre molecules, whether native or formed by denaturation in the living cell, is discussed, especially in relation to experimental morphology and cytology.