Detergents function??

Randy Willis willis at
Tue Mar 4 18:05:18 EST 1997

Balwi wrote:
If you think you know scientific answer why SDS or Tween 20 or Triton
X-100 prefer than each other please e-mail me.

  Briefly, different people will use different detergents because of
their different biochemical and biophysical properties.  What might be
good for one use might not be so good for another.  Often, when lysing
bacteria to release proteins for purification, one will us Triton X-100
as it is good at destabilizing the cellular membranes but is not
denaturing to the proteins in solution.  For exactly the opposite
reason, people will use SDS when denaturing proteins for analysis by
polyacrylamide electrophoresis as well as the fact that SDS has a
negative charge such that several molecules of SDS coating a protein
molecule will give all of them a net negative charge causing all of them
to migrate in the anode to cathode direction and eliminating the charge
variability in the migration of several proteins.  Finally, when you are
looking for a specific interaction between a detergent and a protein,
not all are created equal.

This is just a brief overview and any good text on protein purification
should give you more details.

Good luck,

Randall C Willis, Researcher
Biochemistry, Hosp for Sick Children
3522-555 University Ave
Toronto, ON

416-813-5933 (ph)  -5022 (fax)

willis at

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