Protein solubility studies below the isoelectric point exhibit a direct Hofmeister series at high salt concentrations and an inverse Hofmeister series at low salt concentrations. The efficiencies of different anions measured by salt concentrations needed to effect precipitation at fixed cations are the usual Hofmeister series (Cl- > NO3 - > Br- > ClO4 - > I- > SCN -). The sequence is reversed at low concentrations. This has been known for over a century. Reversal of the Hofmeister series is not peculiar to proteins. Its origin poses a key test for any theoretical model. Such specific ion effects in the cloud points of lysozyme suspensions have recently been revisited. Here, a model for lysozymes is considered that takes into account forces acting on ions that are missing from classical theory. It is shown that both direct and reverse Hofmeister effects can be predicted quantitatively. The attractive/repulsive force between two protein molecules was calculated. To do this, a modification of Poisson-Boltzmann theory is used that accounts for the effects of ion polarizabilities and ion sizes obtained from ab initio calculations. At low salt concentrations, the adsorption of the more polarizable anions is enhanced by ion-surface dispersion interactions. The increased adsorption screens the protein surface charge, thus reducing the surface forces to give an inverse Hofmeister series. At high concentrations, enhanced adsorption of the more polarizable counterions (anions) leads to an effective reversal in surface charge. Consequently, an increase in co-ion (cations) adsorption occurs, resulting in an increase in surface forces. It will be demonstrated that among the different contributions determining the predicted specific ion effect the entropic term due to anions is the main responsible for the Hofmeister sequence at low salt concentrations. Conversely, the entropic term due to cations determines the Hofmeister sequence at high salt concentrations. This behavior is a remarkable example of the charge-reversal phenomenon
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