Autofluorescence characteristics of human serum albumin (HSA) are highly sensitive to its local environment. Identification and characterization of the proteins in normal and disease conditions may have great clinical implications. Aim of the present study was to understand how autofluorescence properties of HSA varies with denaturation under urea (3.0M, 6.0M, 9.0M) and guanidine hydrochloride (GnHCl) (2.0M, 4.0M, 6.0M) as well as digestion with trypsin. Towards this, we have recorded the corresponding autofluorescence spectra of HSA at 281nm laser excitation and compared the outcomes. Although, HSA contains 1 tryptophan and 17 tyrosine residues, it has shown intense autofluorescence due to tryptophan as compared to the tyrosine in native form, which may be due to the fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) from tyrosine to tryptophan. As the unfolding progresses in denatured and digested forms of the protein, a clear increase in tyrosine fluorescence as compared to tryptophan was observed, which may be due to the increase of tryptophan - tyrosine separation disturbing the FRET between them resulting in differences in the overall autofluorescence properties. The decrease in tryptophan fluorescence of around 17% in urea denatured, 32% in GnHCl denatured and 96% in tryptic digested HSA was observed as compared to its native form. The obtained results show a clear decrease in FRET between tyrosine and tryptophan residues with the progression of unfolding and urea seems to be less efficient than GnHCl in unfolding of HSA. These results demonstrate the potential of autofluorescence in characterizing proteins in general and HSA in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvanced Biomedical and Clinical Diagnostic and Surgical Guidance Systems XII
ISBN (Print)9780819498489
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventAdvanced Biomedical and Clinical Diagnostic and Surgical Guidance Systems XII - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: 02-02-201404-02-2014


ConferenceAdvanced Biomedical and Clinical Diagnostic and Surgical Guidance Systems XII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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