Wiśniewski JR, Gaugaz FZ
Anal. Chem. 87 (8) 4110-4116 [2015-04-21; online 2015-04-09]
The determination of total protein content is one of the most frequent analytical tasks in biochemistry and molecular biology. Here we evaluate measurements of tryptophan fluorescence (WF) for total protein determination in whole tissue lysates and for peptide quantification in protein digests. We demonstrate that the fluorescence spectrometry of tryptophan offers a simple, sensitive, and direct method for protein and peptide assays. The WF assay is fully compatible with SDS and other solutes that are commonly used for lysis of tissue and cells. We found that the content of tryptophan varies only a little between mouse tissues (1.16 ± 0.08% of total amino acids) and is similar in human cells (1.19 ± 0.06%). Therefore, free tryptophan can be used as a universal standard. We show that the assay can be carried out on a standard fluorescence spectrometer with cuvettes as well as in a 96-well format using a plate reader. The method is particularly suitable for determination of peptide content in diluted samples. Notably, the whole sample can be recovered after the measurement.