Interactions and Diffusion in Fine-Stranded beta-lactoglobulin Gels Determined via FRAP and Binding
Journal article, 2014
The effects of electrostatic interactions and obstruction by the microstructure on probe diffusion were determined in positively charged hydrogels. Probe diffusion in fine-stranded gels and solutions of beta-lactoglobulin at pH 3.5 was determined using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) and binding, which is widely used in biophysics. The microstructures of the beta-lactoglobulin gels were characterized using transmission electron microscopy. The effects of probe size and charge (negatively charged Na-2-fluorescein (376Da) and weakly anionic 70kDa FITC-dextran), probe concentration (50 to 200 ppm), and beta-lactoglobulin concentration (9% to 12% w/w) on the diffusion properties and the electrostatic interaction between the negatively charged probes and the positively charged gels or solutions were evaluated. The results show that the diffusion of negatively charged Na-2-fluorescein is strongly influenced by electrostatic interactions in the positively charged beta-lactoglobulin systems. A linear relationship between the pseudo-on binding rate constant and the beta-lactoglobulin concentration for three different probe concentrations was found. This validates an important assumption of existing biophysical FRAP and binding models, namely that the pseudo-on binding rate constant equals the product of the molecular binding rate constant and the concentration of the free binding sites. Indicators were established to clarify whether FRAP data should be analyzed using a binding-diffusion model or an obstruction-diffusion model.