The diffusion coefficients (D) of different types of macromolecules (proteins, dextrans, polymer beads, and DNA) were measured by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) both in solution and in 2% agarose gels to compare transport properties of these macromolecules. Diffusion measurements were conducted with concentrations low enough to avoid macromolecular interactions. For gel measurements, diffusion data were fitted according to different theories: polymer chains and spherical macromolecules were analyzed separately. As chain length increases, diffusion coefficients of DNA show a clear shift from a Rouse-like behavior (D(G) ≃ N0/-0.5) to a reptational behavior (D(G) ≃ N0/-2.0). The pore size, a, of a 2% agarose gel cast in a 0.1 M PBS solution was estimated. Diffusion coefficients of the proteins and the polymer beads were analyzed with the Ogston model and the effective medium model permitting the estimation of an agarose gel fiber radius and hydraulic permeability of the gels. Not only did flexible macromolecules exhibit greater mobility in the gel than did comparable-size rigid spherical particles, they also proved to be a more useful probe of available space between fibers.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 1999|