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Eur Biophys J. 2010 Jul;39(8):1261-75. doi: 10.1007/s00249-009-0545-7. Epub 2009 Oct 6.

On computational approaches for size-and-shape distributions from sedimentation velocity analytical ultracentrifugation.

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Dynamics of Macromolecular Assembly, Laboratory of Bioengineering and Physical Science, National Institutes of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Sedimentation velocity analytical ultracentrifugation has become a very popular technique to study size distributions and interactions of macromolecules. Recently, a method termed two-dimensional spectrum analysis (2DSA) for the determination of size-and-shape distributions was described by Demeler and colleagues (Eur Biophys J 2009). It is based on novel ideas conceived for fitting the integral equations of the size-and-shape distribution to experimental data, illustrated with an example but provided without proof of the principle of the algorithm. In the present work, we examine the 2DSA algorithm by comparison with the mathematical reference frame and simple well-known numerical concepts for solving Fredholm integral equations, and test the key assumptions underlying the 2DSA method in an example application. While the 2DSA appears computationally excessively wasteful, key elements also appear to be in conflict with mathematical results. This raises doubts about the correctness of the results from 2DSA analysis.

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