Tracing the conformational changes in BSA using FRET with environmentally-sensitive squaraine probes

Iryna V. Govor, Anatoliy L. Tatarets, Olena M. Obukhova, Ewald A. Terpetschnig, Gary Gellerman, Leonid D. Patsenker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


A new potential method of detecting the conformational changes in hydrophobic proteins such as bovine serum albumin (BSA) is introduced. The method is based on the change in the Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) efficiency between protein-sensitive fluorescent probes. As compared to conventional FRET based methods, in this new approach the donor and acceptor dyes are not covalently linked to protein molecules. Performance of the new method is demonstrated using the proteinsensitive squaraine probes Square-634 (donor) and Square-685 (acceptor) to detect the urea-induced conformational changes of BSA. The FRET efficiency between these probes can be considered a more sensitive parameter to trace protein unfolding as compared to the changes in fluorescence intensity of each of these probes. Addition of urea followed by BSA unfolding causes a noticeable decrease in the emission intensities of these probes (factor of 5.6 for Square-634 and 3.0 for Square-685), and the FRET efficiency changes by a factor of up to 17. Compared to the conventional method the new approach therefore demonstrates to be a more sensitive way to detect the conformational changes in BSA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number024007
JournalMethods and Applications in Fluorescence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2016


  • BSA
  • Conformational change in protein
  • FRET
  • Fluorescent probe
  • Squaraine


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