The Svedberg Lecture 2017. From nano to micro: the huge dynamic range of the analytical ultracentrifuge for characterising the sizes, shapes and interactions of molecules and assemblies in Biochemistry and Polymer Science
The analytical ultracentrifuge (AUC) invented by T. Svedberg has now become an extremely versatile and diverse tool in Biochemistry and Polymer Science for the characterisation of the sizes, shapes and interactions of particles ranging in size from a few nanometres to tens of microns, or in molecular weight, M (molar mass) terms from a few hundred daltons to hundreds of megadaltons. We illustrate this diversity by reviewing recent work on (1) small lignin-like isoeugenols of M ~ 0.4–0.9 kDa for archaeological wood conservation, (2) protein-like association of a functional amino-cellulose M = 3.25 kDa, (3) a small glycopeptide antibiotic (M ~ 1.5 kDa) and its association with a protein involved in antibiotic resistance (M ~ 47 kDa), (4) tetanus toxoid protein TTP (M ~ 150 kDa) and (5) the incorporation of TTP into two huge glycoconjugates considered in glycovaccine development with molecular weight species in a broad distribution appearing to reach 100 MDa. In illustrating the diversity, we will highlight developments in hydrodynamic analysis which have made the AUC such an exciting and important instrument, and point to a potential future development for extending its capability to highly concentrated systems.
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