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Biophys J. 1998 Jan;74(1):422-9.

1-Anilino-8-naphthalene sulfonate anion-protein binding depends primarily on ion pair formation.

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Biochemistry Department, University of Minnesota, St. Paul 55108, USA.


The ANS- (1-anilino-8-naphthalene sulfonate) anion is strongly, dominantly bound to cationic groups of water-soluble proteins and polyamino acids through ion pair formation. This mode of ANS- binding, broad and pH dependent, is expressed by the quite rigorous stoichiometry of ANS- bound with respect to the available summed number of H+ titrated lysine, histidine, and arginine groups. By titration calorimetry, the integral or overall enthalpies of ANS- binding to four proteins, bovine serum albumin, lysozyme, papain, and protease omega, were arithmetic sums of individual ANS(-)-polyamino acid sidechain binding enthalpies (polyhistidine, polyarginine, polylysine), weighted by numbers of such cationic groups of each protein (additivity of binding enthalpies). ANS- binding energetics to both classes of macromolecules, cationic proteins and synthetic cationic polyamino acids, is reinforced by the organic moiety (anilinonaphthalene) of ANS-. In a much narrower range of binding, where ANS- is sometimes assumed to act as a hydrophobic probe, ANS- may become fluorescent. However, the broad overall range is sharply dependent on electrostatic, ion pair formation, where the organic sulfonate group is the major determinant of binding.

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