The use of fluorescence methods to monitor unfolding transitions in proteins

Biophys J. 1994 Feb;66(2 Pt 1):482-501. doi: 10.1016/s0006-3495(94)80799-4.


This article discusses several strategies for the use steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence methods to monitor unfolding transitions in proteins. The assumptions and limitations of several methods are discussed. Simulations are presented to show that certain fluorescence observables directly track the population of states in an unfolding transition, whereas other observables skew the transition toward the dominant fluorescing species. Several examples are given, involving the unfolding of Staphylococcal aureus nuclease A, in which thermodynamic information is obtained for the temperature and denaturant induced transitions in this protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • Energy Transfer
  • Fluorescence Polarization
  • Kinetics
  • Ligands
  • Micrococcal Nuclease / chemistry
  • Models, Chemical
  • Pressure
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Denaturation
  • Protein Folding
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Temperature
  • Thermodynamics


  • Ligands
  • Proteins
  • Micrococcal Nuclease