Charged polypeptide diffusion at a very high ionic strength

Liang Hong, Steve Granick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two charged polypeptides of opposite charge, poly(glutamic acid) (negative charge) and polylysine (positive charge), were end-labeled with Alexa fluorescent dyes, and their translational diffusion coefficient (D) values in dilute solutions (∼10 -4 mg mL -1) were studied at the biological pH with fluorescence correlation spectroscopy as a function of the ionic strength (C s) mediated by the addition of NaCl. At a moderate ionic strength, D increased consistently with expected chain contraction because of electrostatic screening. At a very high ionic strength, D of poly(glutamic acid) increased more rapidly, following the empirical power law R H ∼ C s -1/2 over a limited range of C s, where the changes in D were interpreted as changes in the hydrodynamic radius, R H- However, D of polylysine at first decreased but eventually passed through a maximum followed by a decrease. These large increases implied that R H decreased considerably, in turn implying a strong contraction of the chain conformations even though the polymer remained soluble and showed no evidence of aggregation. For polylysine, the unexpected minimum R H value may be related to the salting-in phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3497-3502
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005


  • Diffusion
  • Fluorescence
  • Polyelectrolytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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