About mercaptoethanol

ChenHA hzhen at freeuk.com
Sat Jun 3 09:40:19 EST 2000


asanchez at cibnor.mx wrote:
> 
> Today I was talking about mercaptoethanol, and I said that it
> denaturalizes proteins. Somebody call my attention to say that it is
> not true, that mercaptoethanol is a reducer agent, not a
> protein "denaturalizer".
> 
> Can someone tell me if I am right or not? By reducing the environment
> of the protein it denatures the protein, so it must be considered as a
> denaturing agent...or not????

Not.  Reducing agent and denaturant are something completely
different.  While some proteins are unstable in reducing
environment, most proteins are quite happy in a reducing
environment.  Denaturant actively denatures the protein,
reducing agent doesn't.  Reducing agents only affect a small
subset of proteins in which disulphide bond is important for
stability, while denaturants have a more general
applicability.   



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