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1-Ethyl-3-[3-dimethylaminopropyl]carbodiimide (EDC) is a commonly used reagent for bioconjugation and peptide synthesis. Both EDC and the corresponding urea derivative, 1-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-3-ethylurea (EDU), are achiral. As the reagent is active in aqueous solutions, it is a common choice for the study of evolving secondary structural changes via circular dichroism. This work highlights the effect of EDU on spectropolarimetric measurements, namely, the problematic absorption profile at low wavelengths (190−220 nm). We demonstrate that EDU is capable of erroneously indicating structural changes, particularly loss of α-helical character, through masking of the characteristic minimum at 208 nm. However, if the concentrations of the EDU in the sample are known, then this effect can be anticipated and calculations of secondary structure can be adjusted to avoid the impacted wavelengths. Impacts of EDU in a sample are compared to those of standard urea, which, by contrast, is commonly used as a denaturant in circular dichroism studies without issue.


This article was originally published in ACS Omega, available at DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.7b01288.

This is an open access article published under an ACS AuthorChoice License, which permits copying and redistribution of the article or any adaptations for non-commercial purposes.

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