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Anal Chem. 2010 Feb 1;82(3):974-81. doi: 10.1021/ac902238u.

Binding of perfluorocarboxylates to serum albumin: a comparison of analytical methods.

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Department of Chemistry, Union College, Schenectady, New York 12308, USA.


Perfluorochemicals are globally pervasive contaminants that are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. Perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs) with 8-13 carbons accumulate in the liver and blood of aquatic organisms; PFCA-protein interactions may explain this accumulation pattern. Here, the interactions between PFCAs with 8-11 carbons and serum albumin are examined using three experimental approaches: surface tension titrations, (19)F NMR spectroscopy, and fluorescence spectroscopy. Surface tension titrations indicate complex formation at high (mM) PFCA concentrations. Secondary association constants ranging from 10(2) to 10(4) M(-1) were determined from (19)F NMR titrations at high PFCA:albumin mole ratios. Fluorescence measurements indicate that PFCA-albumin interactions alter the protein conformation at low PFCA:albumin mole ratios (up to 5:1) and suggest two binding classes with association constants around 10(5) and 10(2) M(-1). While (19)F NMR and fluorescence provide both qualitative and quantitative information about PFCA-albumin interactions, surface tension provides only qualitative information. Limitations associated with instrumentation and methods require high PFCA concentrations in both surface tension and (19)F NMR experiments; in contrast, fluorescence allows for analysis of a wider range of PFCA concentrations and PFCA:albumin mole ratios. Results from this study indicate that fluorescence, though an indirect method, offers a more comprehensive picture of the nature of PFCA-albumin interactions.

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