SDS debate

Nick Theodorakis nicholas_theodorakis at
Thu Aug 9 08:55:26 EST 2001

<Pine.SGI.4.33.0108091040010.4361379-100000 at>, 
Michael Witty wrote:
>Dear All,
>        there is a debate in my lab about the extent to which SDS
>denatures protein.  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.  What do we think?

Proteins vary, of course, but the tendency will be for SDS to "stretch out" 
the protein chain, so your colleague is closer to being correct. Consider 
that SDS is highly charged at neutral pH, so that when a protein is 
slathered in it the charges tend to want to repel each other so the chain 


Nick Theodorakis
nicholas_theodorakis at


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