Colloid and Polymer Science

, Volume 296, Issue 2, pp 367–378 | Cite as

Effect of chain length on the interactions of sodium N-alkyl prolinates with bovine serum albumin: a spectroscopic investigation and molecular docking simulations

  • Nausheen Joondan
  • Salma Bibi Moosun
  • Prakashanand Caumul
  • Suthananda N. Sunassee
  • Gerhard A. Venter
  • Sabina Jhaumeer-LaullooEmail author
Original Contribution


The interaction of anionic surfactants with serum albumin has emerged as an important area of research and is considered as a model for gaining fundamental insight into surfactant-protein binding, which is useful in both chemical and biological applications. This study involves the interactions of three synthesized proline-based anionic surfactants of varying chain lengths (C8, C10, and C12) with bovine serum albumin (BSA) using different techniques, including fluorescence, 1H NMR, and FT-IR spectroscopy. The study indicated that the binding of the proline surfactants with BSA followed a static quenching process, with an increase in binding ability upon increasing chain length. FT-IR studies revealed a change in the secondary structure of BSA upon binding with the proline surfactant, while 1H NMR investigations indicated the proximity of the long alkyl chain of the surfactant with tryptophan residues of BSA. Molecular docking studies performed on the three proline surfactants with BSA revealed that the surfactants were able to bind in the vicinity of both tryptophan residues (Trp-213 and Trp-134) with an increase in the free energy of binding while increasing the chain length from C8 to C12. Therefore, this study provided a whole view about the interaction of BSA with anionic proline derived surfactants, which can be used as potential ingredients in pharmaceutical products.


Anionic surfactants Proline Bovine serum albumin Fluorescence quenching Molecular docking 



Computations were performed using facilities provided by the University of Cape Town’s ICTS High-Performance Computing Team: One of the authors is thankful to the tertiary education commission for the grant of scholarship scheme.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests.

Supplementary material

396_2017_4251_MOESM1_ESM.docx (453 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 453 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nausheen Joondan
    • 1
  • Salma Bibi Moosun
    • 1
  • Prakashanand Caumul
    • 1
  • Suthananda N. Sunassee
    • 2
    • 3
  • Gerhard A. Venter
    • 2
    • 4
  • Sabina Jhaumeer-Laulloo
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of MauritiusReduitMauritius
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa
  3. 3.South African Medical Research Council Drug Discovery and Development Research UnitUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa
  4. 4.Scientific Computing Research UnitUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

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