Anne-Frances Miller Reports on Unboiling Eggs to Teach Students About Protein Structure in the Journal of Chemical Education
In the paper “Unboiling an Egg: An Introduction to Circular Dichroism and Protein Refolding” published in the Journal of Chemical Education, Prof. Anne-Frances Miller describes an experiment that protein unfolding and refolding accessible to students by working with hard boiled eggs. This experiment, which is adaptable to students as early as young as the high school level, provides an introduction to the use of a technique called circular dichroism, a hallmark technique for analyzing biological structures. In this experiment, students employ a denaturant solution to dissolve a hard-boiled egg back into solution, wherein the protein’s original structural signature (before boiling) are recovered, as evidenced by circular dichroism results. This experiment provides an accessible introduction to the use of circular dichroism for characterizing protein secondary structure and is a class favorite due to the surprising possibility of reversing the protein aggregation responsible for the solidity of a hard-boiled egg.
Citation: J. P. Hoben, J. Wang, A.-F. Miller, J. Chem. Edu., 2016, ASAP Articles. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.6b00319