Study of biological macromolecules by diffusion-enhanced lanthanide energy transfer

Theodore G. Wensel, Claude F. Meares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The transfer of electronic excitation energy from small terbium complexes to chromophores in solution is greatly enhanced by the fact that during its millisecond luminescence lifetime a typical excited terbium complex diffuses extensively (covering a net distance of about 2 × 103 nm). Thus, under ordinary circumstances, an excited terbium complex actually encounters a large number of possible energy acceptors before it decays. (At 10-6 M, the average separation between neighboring acceptors is 65 nm.) This has the effect of averaging the interactions between energy donor and acceptor(s) over all allowed directions and orientations in space, so that the final result reflects the equilibrium properties of the system under study. Energy transfer in this rapid-diffusion limit is sensitive to the electric charge of the donor and acceptor. A set of terbium probes with the same size and approximately spherical shape but different charges (1+, 0, 1-) permits quantitative study of electrostatic effects. These have been calibrated by studies of energy transfer to small, spherical transition metal complexes. They have subsequently been employed in studies of chromophores in proteins, and DNA-binding drugs. Measurements of the effect of DNA on energy transfer between small, freely diffusing ions indicate how cations cluster in regions near DNA, and how anions are repelled from the same regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-160
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Less-Common Metals
Volume149
Issue numberC
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 1989

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Terbium
Lanthanoid Series Elements
Rare earth elements
Macromolecules
Energy transfer
DNA
Chromophores
Electric charge
Excitation energy
Coordination Complexes
DNA-Binding Proteins
Metal complexes
Transition metals
Anions
Cations
Luminescence
Electrostatics
Negative ions
Positive ions
Ions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

Cite this

Study of biological macromolecules by diffusion-enhanced lanthanide energy transfer. / Wensel, Theodore G.; Meares, Claude F.

In: Journal of the Less-Common Metals, Vol. 149, No. C, 15.04.1989, p. 143-160.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wensel, Theodore G. ; Meares, Claude F. / Study of biological macromolecules by diffusion-enhanced lanthanide energy transfer. In: Journal of the Less-Common Metals. 1989 ; Vol. 149, No. C. pp. 143-160.
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