Encyclopedia of Biophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Gordon Roberts, Anthony Watts, European Biophysical Societies

Absorption Spectroscopy to Probe Ligand Binding

  • Alison RodgerEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35943-9_778-1



When a ligand solution is added to a solution of biomacromolecules, if it does not bind to the macromolecules, then the UV–visible spectrum will simply be the sum of the macromolecule spectrum and the ligand spectrum. If the ligand does bind to the macromolecules, then the spectrum of the complex will be (at least slightly) different from the sum spectrum. One should note that the observed spectrum is probably a complicated mixture of the spectrum of bound and unbound ligands and free and complexed macromolecules.

Sometimes there are changes in the spectrum characteristic of the type of interaction. For example, when two planar aromatic molecules bind together, such as an aromatic ligand intercalating between two DNA base pairs, there is usually a characteristic decrease in the ligand-absorbance signal (hypochromism) of up to 50% and a shift to longer wavelength (bathochromic shift) of between ∼2 and 20nm as...
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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association (EBSA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular SciencesMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Alison Rodger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Sciences, Macquarie UniversityNWSAustralia