2D-infrared spectroscopy of proteins in water : using the solvent thermal response as an internal standard

Hume, Samantha and Greetham, Gregory M. and Donaldson, Paul M. and Towrie, Michael and Parker, Anthony W. and Baker, Matthew J. and Hunt, Neil T. (2020) 2D-infrared spectroscopy of proteins in water : using the solvent thermal response as an internal standard. Analytical Chemistry, 92 (4). pp. 3463-3469. ISSN 0003-2700

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    Ultrafast two-dimensional infrared (2D-IR) spectra can now be obtained in a matter of seconds, opening up the possibility of high-throughput screening applications of relevance to the biomedical and pharmaceutical sectors. Determining quantitative information from 2D-IR spectra recorded on different samples and different instruments is however made difficult by variations in beam alignment, laser intensity, and sample conditions. Recently, we demonstrated that 2D-IR spectroscopy of the protein amide I band can be performed in aqueous (H2O) rather than deuterated (D2O) solvents, and we now report a method that uses the magnitude of the associated thermal response of H2O as an internal normalization standard for 2D-IR spectra. Using the water response, which is temporally separated from the protein signal, to normalize the spectra allows significant reduction of the impact of measurement-to-measurement fluctuations on the data. We demonstrate that this normalization method enables creation of calibration curves for measurement of absolute protein concentrations and facilitates reproducible difference spectroscopy methodologies. These advances make significant progress toward the robust data handling strategies that will be essential for the realization of automated spectral analysis tools for large scale 2D-IR screening studies of protein-containing solutions and biofluids.