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A model of dynamic quenching of fluorescence in globular proteins


A model is presented for the quenching of a fluorophore in a protein interior. At low quencher concentration the quenching process is determined by the acquisition rate of quencher by the protein, the migration rate of quencher in the protein interior, and the exit rate of quencher from the protein. In cases where the fluorescence emission observed in the absence of quencher could be described by a single exponential decay, the presence of quencher led to doubly exponential decay times, and the aforementioned exit rates of the quencher could be determined from experimental data. At high quencher concentration, the processes became more complex, and the deterministic rate equations used at low quencher concentration had to be modified to take into account the Poisson distribution of quencher molecules throughout the protein ensemble and also by using a migration rate for quencher in the protein interior that is a function of the quencher concentration. Simulations performed for typical fluorescent probes in proteins showed good agreement with experiments.

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