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We have investigated myoglobin protein denaturation using the zwitterionic detergent Empigen BB (EBB, N,N-Dimethyl-N-dodecylglycine betaine). A combination of absorbance, fluorescence, and circular dichroism spectroscopic measurements elucidated the protein denaturation and heme dissociation from myoglobin. The results indicated that Empigen BB was not able to fully denature the myoglobin structure, but apparently can induce the dissociation of the heme group from the protein. This provides a way to estimate the heme binding free energy, ΔGdissociation. As ionic liquids (ILs) have been shown to perturb the myoglobin protein, we have investigated the effects of the ILs 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride (BMICl), 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate (EMIAc), and 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate (BMIBF4) in aqueous solution on the ΔGdissociation values. Absorbance experiments show the ILs had minimal effect on ΔGdissociation values when compared to controls. Fluorescence and circular dichroism data confirm the ILs have no effect on heme dissociation, demonstrating that low concentrations ILs do not impact the heme dissociation from the protein and do not significantly denature myoglobin on their own or in combination with EBB. These results provide important data for future studies of the mechanism of IL-mediated protein stabilization/destabilization and biocompatibility studies.


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