We report observations of the changes in the surface structure of lysozyme adsorbed at the air-water interface produced by the chemical denaturant guanidinium chloride. A primary result is the durability of the adsorbed surface layer to denaturation, as compared to the molecule in the bulk solution. Data on the surface film were obtained from X-ray and neutron reflectivity measurements and modeled simultaneously. The behavior of lysozyme in G.HCl solutions was determined by small-angle X-ray scattering. For the air-water interface, determination of the adsorbed protein layer dimensions shows that at low to moderate denaturant concentrations (up to 2 mol L(-1)), there is no significant distortion of the protein's tertiary structure at the interface, as changes in the orientation of the protein are sufficient to model data. At higher denaturant concentrations, time-dependent multilayer formation occurred, indicating molecular aggregation at the surface. Methodologies to predict the protein orientation at the interface, based on amino acid residues' surface affinities and charge, were critiqued and validated against our experimental data.
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