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Biointeractions of Herbicide Atrazine with Human Serum Albumin: UV-Vis, Fluorescence and Circular Dichroism Approaches

Key Laboratory of Agri-Food Safety of Anhui Province, School of Resources and Environment, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei 230036, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(1), 116;
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 6 January 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 11 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Pesticides Exposure)
PDF [4055 KB, uploaded 11 January 2018]


The herbicide atrazine is widely used across the globe, which is a great concern. To investigate its potential toxicity in the human body, human serum albumin (HSA) was selected as a model protein. The interaction between atrazine and HSA was investigated using steady-state fluorescence spectroscopy, synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy, UV-Vis spectroscopy, three-dimensional (3D) fluorescence spectroscopy and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy. The intrinsic fluorescence of HSA was quenched by the atrazine through a static quenching mechanism. Fluorescence spectra at two excitation wavelengths (280 and 295 nm) showed that the fluorescence quenched in HSA was mainly contributed to by tryptophan residues. In addition, the atrazine bound to HSA, which induced changes in the conformation and secondary structure of HSA and caused an energy transfer. Thermodynamic parameters revealed that this binding is spontaneous. Moreover, electrostatic interactions play a major role in the combination of atrazine and HSA. One atrazine molecule can only bind to one HSA molecule to form a complex, and the atrazine molecule is bound at site II (subdomain IIIA) of HSA. This study furthers the understanding of the potential effects posed by atrazine on humans at the molecular level. View Full-Text
Keywords: atrazine; fluorescence quenching; human serum albumin; spectroscopy atrazine; fluorescence quenching; human serum albumin; spectroscopy

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Zhu, M.; Wang, L.; Wang, Y.; Zhou, J.; Ding, J.; Li, W.; Xin, Y.; Fan, S.; Wang, Z.; Wang, Y. Biointeractions of Herbicide Atrazine with Human Serum Albumin: UV-Vis, Fluorescence and Circular Dichroism Approaches. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 116.

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