Measurements are presented of the radiation inactivation of four enzymes exposed to a 6 MeV proton beam. It has long been thought that the measurement of the susceptibility of an enzyme to ionizing radiation can be used to determine its molecular mass. Results are frequently interpreted using the empirical analysis of Kempner and Macey (Biochim. Biophys. Acta 163, 188-203, 1963). We examine this analysis and discuss the validity and limitations of the assumptions on which it is based. Our results indicate that the specific biochemical properties of each enzyme make a significant contribution to its radiation sensitivity.

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