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Luminescence behaviour of 5-hydroxyindole in different environments.

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  • 1Biophysics Division, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Calcutta, India.


Steady state fluorescence emission spectroscopic studies along with some lifetime measurements have been performed for 5-hydroxyindole (5HI) in different environments. 5HI merits particular attention, since it is the chromophoric moiety of the non-natural amino acid 5-hydroxytryptophan (5HT), which has come into significant, recent prominence as a novel intrinsic optical probe for protein structure, function and dynamics. Studies in representative homogeneous solvents and solvent-mixtures indicate that unlike other fluorophores of related interest like indole (I) and 7-azaindole (7AI), the fluorescence emission maximum (lambda(em)max) of 5HI is relatively insensitive to solvent polarity. This behaviour suggests the lack of appreciable solvent dipolar relaxation in 5HI, which is consistent with our low temperature (77 K) emission data. Notwithstanding such limitation, fluorescence anisotropy (r) and quenching studies are shown to be effective for exploring changes in the micro-environments of 5HI in sodium bis-(2-ethylhexyl)sulfosuccinate (AOT) reverse micellar assemblies (which serve as a biomembrane mimetic model system) with variation in water/surfactant molar ratio (w0).

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