Many cytosolic proteins are water soluble and their solubility is a function of the ionic strength and pH of the solution. The commonly used salt for this purpose is Ammonium Sulphate, due to its high solubility even at lower temperatures. Proteins in aqueous solutions are heavily hydrated, and with the addition of salt, the water molecules become more attracted to the salt than to the protein due to the higher charge. This competition for hydration is usually more favorable towards the salt, which leads to interaction between the proteins, resulting in aggregation and finally precipitation. The precipitate can then be collected by centrifugation and the protein pellet is re-dissolved in a low salt buffer. Since different proteins have distinct characteristics, it is often the case that they precipitate (or 'salt out') at a particular concentration of salt.
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