Journal of Fluorescence

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 1683–1687 | Cite as

Sub-Structures Formed in the Excited State are Responsible for Tryptophan Residues Fluorescence in β-Lactoglobulin

Original Paper


Origin of tryptophan residues fluorescence in β-lactoglobulin is analyzed. Fluorescence lifetimes and spectra of β-lactoglobulin solution are measured at pH going from 2 to 12 and in 6 M guanidine. Tryptophan residues emit with three lifetimes at all conditions. Two lifetimes (0.4–0.5 ns and 2–4 ns) are in the same range of those measured for tryptophan free in solution. Lifetimes in the denatured states are lower than those measured in the native state. Pre-exponential values are modified with the protein structure. Data are identical to those already obtained for other proteins. Fluorescence lifetimes characterize internal states of the tryptophan residues (Tryptophan sub-structures) independently of the tryptophan environments, the third lifetime results from the interaction that is occurring between the Trp residues and its environment. Pre-exponential values characterize substructures populations. In conclusion, tryptophan mission occurs from substates generated in the excited state. This is in good agreement with the theory we described in recent works.


β-lactoglobulin Tryptophan residues pH Fluorescence lifetimes Fluorescence emission spectra Fluorophore sub-structures 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biophysique moleculaireUniversité de Lille 1Villeneuve d’Ascq CédexFrance

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