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Pre-denaturing transitions in human serum albumin probed using time-resolved phosphorescence

Spectrochimica Acta Part A Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy
DOI: 10.1016/j.saa.2014.01.073
  • Room Temperature Phosphorescence
  • Non Extensive Decay
  • Fluorescence Lifetime
  • Protein
  • Distribution Analysis
  • Biology
  • Chemistry


Abstract The investigation of protein dynamics has long been of interest, since protein interactions and functions can be determined by their structure and changes in conformation. Although fluorescence, occurring on the nanosecond timescale, from intrinsic fluorescent amino acids has been extensively used, in order to fully access conformational changes longer timescales are required. Phosphorescence enables processes on the microsecond to second timescale to be accessed. However, at room temperature this emission can be weak and non trivial to measure. It requires the removal of oxygen – a common triplet state quencher and appropriate instrumentation. In this work we make use of a chemical deoxygenator to study room temperature phosphorescence from tryptophan in human serum albumin excited using a pulsed UV light emitting diode. This is extended to monitor the phosphorescence emission upon increasing temperature, allowing pre-denaturing transitions to be observed. Time-resolved data are analysed, both as the sum of exponential decays and using a distribution analysis based on non extensive decay kinetics. These results are compared to a fluorescence study and both the average lifetime and contribution of the different emitting components were found to give more dramatic changes on the phosphorescence timescale.

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