Analytical Ultracentrifugation (AUC) Service
The application of analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC), a formidable technique employed in the realm of biochemistry and polymer science, has paved the way for an in-depth analysis of the physical attributes of macromolecules in solution. By exploiting the centrifugal force, AUC successfully partitions molecules based on their sedimentation rates, a phenomenon that has led to the acquisition of invaluable data pertaining to the interplay between size, shape, and intermolecular associations of macromolecules. With its multifaceted applications spanning across the domains of biochemistry, biophysics, and materials science, AUC has proven to be an indispensable tool for the scientific community.
In the realm of analytical ultracentrifugation, the fundamental principle harkens back to the intriguing relationship between a macromolecule's sedimentation rate and its physical attributes, including but not limited to size, shape, density, and buoyancy. As one subjects a macromolecule to a centrifugal field, it experiences a gravitational tug that causes it to settle towards the bottom of the cell. This compelling phenomenon, which is dependent on the gravitational force and the buoyancy force, leads to a balance of forces, and in turn, a determination of the sedimentation rate. The buoyancy force, which is directly proportional to the macromolecule's volume, enables the macromolecule's sedimentation rate to escalate in tandem with its size and density, thereby enriching our understanding of its physical properties.
Analytical centrifugation and ultracentrifugation are two prominent techniques that play a pivotal role in the study of macromolecules in solution. Although the underlying principles of these techniques may seem similar, their nuances set them apart. One key distinction between these two techniques rests on the speed at which the centrifugation occurs. Analytical centrifugation typically entails a lower spinning speed, usually less than 100,000 rpm, and is predominantly employed for studying smaller macromolecules like proteins and nucleic acids in solution. In contrast, ultracentrifugation, which involves spinning the sample at breakneck speeds exceeding 100,000 rpm, is primarily used to study larger macromolecules, such as viruses and polymers, in solution. These techniques, with their distinct spin speeds, serve as indispensable tools in the realm of macromolecule analysis, enabling scientists to unravel the complexities of these intricate structures.
There are two main types of AUC: sedimentation velocity and sedimentation equilibrium.
Sedimentation velocity (SV) AUC involves measuring the sedimentation rate of the macromolecules in solution. SV AUC is used to determine the molecular weight, size distribution, and shape of the macromolecules. SV AUC can also be used to study the association and dissociation kinetics of macromolecular interactions.
In SV AUC, the sample is spun in a centrifuge at high speeds, and the sedimentation profile of the sample is monitored over time. The sedimentation coefficient distribution (c(s)) is calculated from the sedimentation profile, which provides information about the size and shape of the macromolecules in solution.
Sedimentation equilibrium (SE) AUC involves measuring the equilibrium distribution of macromolecules in a concentration gradient. SE AUC is used to determine the molecular weight, stoichiometry, and binding affinity of macromolecular complexes.
In SE AUC, the sample is spun in a centrifuge at a low speed, and the equilibrium concentration gradient of the macromolecules is established. The concentration gradient is then monitored using a detection system, and the equilibrium distribution of the macromolecules is analyzed using a mathematical model.
Sedimentation velocity analytical ultracentrifugation experiment (Valle et al., 2018).
Analytical ultracentrifugation is used in a wide range of applications in biochemistry and polymer science. It can be used to study the behavior of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates, and other macromolecules in solution. Some common applications of AUC include:
AUC has several applications in various fields of research, such as biochemistry, biophysics, and materials science. Some common applications of AUC include:
AUC can be used to study the structure and function of proteins in solution. It can provide information about the size, shape, and interactions of proteins, as well as their conformational changes under different conditions.
AUC can be used to study the structure and function of nucleic acids in solution. It can provide information about the size, shape, and interactions of nucleic acids, as well as their conformational changes under different conditions.
AUC can be used to study the behavior of polymers and nanoparticles in solution. It can provide information about the size, shape, and interactions of these materials, as well as their aggregation behavior.
AUC can be used to study the physical properties of macromolecules in solution, such as molecular weight, size, and conformation. It can provide information about the thermodynamics and kinetics of macromolecular interactions, such as protein-protein, protein-nucleic acid, and protein-ligand interactions.
AUC can be used to screen and optimize drugs that target macromolecular interactions. It can provide information about the binding affinity, specificity, and stoichiometry of drug-target complexes, as well as their dissociation kinetics.
Analytical ultracentrifugation analysis of G th at different pH values (Albertini et al., 2012).
AUC involves several techniques and methods for sample preparation, data acquisition, and data analysis. Some common techniques and methods used in AUC include:
Sample preparation is a critical step in AUC, as it can affect the accuracy and reliability of the results. The sample must be free of contaminants, such as dust, salts, and detergents, that can interfere with the sedimentation profile. The sample should also be prepared in a buffer that matches the conditions of the experiment, such as pH, temperature, and salt concentration.
Data acquisition in AUC involves monitoring the sedimentation profile of the sample using a detection system, such as absorbance, interference, or fluorescence. The sedimentation profile can be analyzed using several parameters, such as sedimentation coefficient, molecular weight, and diffusion coefficient.
Data analysis in AUC involves modeling the sedimentation profile to determine the properties of the macromolecules in solution. Several software packages are available for data analysis, such as SedFit, SedPhat, and UltraScan. The data analysis can provide information about the molecular weight, size distribution, and conformation of the macromolecules.