Optical Rotatory Dispersion and Circular Dichroism

It is generally accepted that optical rotatory dispersion (ORD) and circular dichroism (CD) are a direct reflection of protein secondary structure. CD uses circularly polarized light (180-260 nm) to illuminate the specimen instead of plane polarized light in the case of ORD. The inherent problem of ORD curve analysis (ie, ORD absorption bands are infinitely broader compared to CD bands) has resulted in increasingly popularity of CD spectra analysis. Computer programs have been developed to compute the contents of a-helix, parallel and antiparallel /¡-sheets, /¿-turn, and random coil. Efforts have been made to expand the spectral range into the far ultraviolet, as low as 180 nm, for more detailed characterization of the CD spectra; thus, more accurate information can be obtained for the five forms of secondary structure. However, mechanical difficulty of maintaining high vacuum during measuring CD spectra restricts broad use of this approach. Instead, spectral analysis using advanced computer-aided classification (eg, artificial neural networks) is increasingly more popular (29).

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