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Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2006 May 14;8(18):2179-86. Epub 2006 Apr 4.

The adsorbed conformation of globular proteins at the air/water interface.

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School of Chemistry, The University of Reading, PO Box 224, Whiteknights, Reading, UK RG6 6AD.


External reflection FTIR spectroscopy and surface pressure measurements were used to compare conformational changes in the adsorbed structures of three globular proteins at the air/water interface. Of the three proteins studied, lysozyme, bovine serum albumin and beta-lactoglobulin, lysozyme was unique in its behaviour. Lysozyme adsorption was slow, taking approximately 2.5 h to reach a surface pressure plateau (from a 0.07 mM solution), and led to significant structural change. The FTIR spectra revealed that lysozyme formed a highly networked adsorbed layer of unfolded protein with high antiparallel beta-sheet content and that these changes occurred rapidly (within 10 min). This non-native secondary structure is analogous to that of a 3D heat-set protein gel, suggesting that the adsorbed protein formed a highly networked interfacial layer. Albumin and beta-lactoglobulin adsorbed rapidly (reaching a plateau within 10 min) and with little change to their native secondary structure.

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