To produce a structural change in a protein or nucleic acid that results in the reduction or loss of its biological properties. Denaturation involves unfolding of the polypeptide chains of proteins and of the double helix of nucleic acids, with loss of secondary and tertiary structure; it is caused by heat (thermal denaturation), chemicals, and extremes of pH. The differences between raw and boiled eggs are largely a result of denaturation. Compare renaturation.
Subjects: Chemistry — Biological Sciences.