SDS debate

R. John Lye rjl6n at
Thu Aug 9 06:43:56 EST 2001

Michael Witty wrote:

> Dear All,
>         there is a debate in my lab about the extent to which SDS
> denatures protein.

Well, it depends on the protein, some are more stable than others
to SDS denaturation; each protein is different.  Unlike DNA, for
example, the specifics of protein chemistry vary enormously.

> I think that SDS sticks, but the gross shape of the
> protein is not altered very much (the protein still looks like a ball of
> wool).  My collegue thinks that the protein is dramatically unfolded and
> looks like a linear object, or a ball of wool unrolled.

In general, SDS will partially denature many proteins, but SDS plus heat
will completely denature most proteins (like your "ball of wool unrolled").
What temperature to use, and time of heating necessary to get complete
denaturation can vary quite a bit though.

Hope that helps,

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