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Second derivative tryptophan fluorescence spectroscopy as a tool to characterize partially unfolded intermediates of proteins

The application of second derivative tryptophan (Trp) fluorescence spectroscopy to characterize partially unfolded intermediates of proteins relevant to protein formulation was investigated. The second derivatives of the normalized emission scans of N -acetyl tryptophanamide (NATA), single-Trp containing proteins, somatostatin and human serum albumin (HSA), and two-Trp containing proteins previously shown to form partially unfolded intermediates, β-lactoglobulin (βLg) and interferon α-2a (IFNα2a), were studied in solution. The second derivative of NATA in water showed three bands at 340, 348 and 367 nm. The 340 nm band showed a blue shift, whereas the intensity of all three bands was affected by a decrease in solution polarity. Second derivative of single-Trp containing proteins, somatostatin and HSA, showed three negative bands, whereas, the second derivative of the two-Trp containing proteins, βLg and IFNα2a, showed four bands, two of which lie in the 320–340 nm range. These two bands were attributed to the presence of the Trps in different microenvironments. The characteristic changes in the intensities of these two bands on addition of guanidine hydrochloride (βLg) and with a decrease in solution pH (IFNα2a) were related to the presence of partially unfolded intermediates of these proteins. Thus, second derivative Trp fluorescence spectroscopy can be used as an important tool to identify partially unfolded states of proteins during formulation utilizing order of magnitude lower concentrations compared to such other technique as near UV CD. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Pharmaceutics Elsevier
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