UNIT 20.12 Overview of Current Methods in Sedimentation Velocity and Sedimentation Equilibrium Analytical Ultracentrifugation

  1. Huaying Zhao1,
  2. Chad A. Brautigam2,
  3. Rodolfo Ghirlando3,
  4. Peter Schuck1

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/0471140864.ps2012s71

Current Protocols in Protein Science

Current Protocols in Protein Science

How to Cite

Zhao, H., Brautigam, C. A., Ghirlando, R. and Schuck, P. 2013. Overview of Current Methods in Sedimentation Velocity and Sedimentation Equilibrium Analytical Ultracentrifugation. Current Protocols in Protein Science. 71:20.12:20.12.1–20.12.49.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Dynamics of Macromolecular Assembly Section, Laboratory of Cellular Imaging and Macromolecular Biophysics, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

  2. 2

    Department of Biochemistry, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas

  3. 3

    Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013
  2. Published Print: FEB 2013


Modern computational strategies have allowed for the direct modeling of the sedimentation process of heterogeneous mixtures, resulting in sedimentation velocity (SV) size-distribution analyses with significantly improved detection limits and strongly enhanced resolution. These advances have transformed the practice of SV, rendering it the primary method of choice for most existing applications of analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC), such as the study of protein self- and hetero-association, the study of membrane proteins, and applications in biotechnology. New global multisignal modeling and mass conservation approaches in SV and sedimentation equilibrium (SE), in conjunction with the effective-particle framework for interpreting the sedimentation boundary structure of interacting systems, as well as tools for explicit modeling of the reaction/diffusion/sedimentation equations to experimental data, have led to more robust and more powerful strategies for the study of reversible protein interactions and multiprotein complexes. Furthermore, modern mathematical modeling capabilities have allowed for a detailed description of many experimental aspects of the acquired data, thus enabling novel experimental opportunities, with important implications for both sample preparation and data acquisition. The goal of the current unit is to describe the current tools for the study of soluble proteins, detergent-solubilized membrane proteins and their interactions by SV and SE. Curr. Protoc. Protein Sci. 71:20.12.1-20.12.49. © 2013 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • sedimentation equilibrium;
  • sedimentation velocity;
  • chemical equilibria;
  • reversible interaction;
  • size-distribution;
  • multiprotein complex;
  • analytical ultracentrifugation;
  • protein hydrodynamics