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Abstract

The accumulation and interaction of hypericin with the biologically important macromolecule, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), is investigated using various steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence measurements. It is concluded that multiple hypericins can penetrate considerably deeply into the LDL molecule. Up to ∼20 nonaggregated hypericin molecules can enter LDL; but upon increasing the hypericin concentration, the fluorescence lifetime of hypericin decreases drastically, suggesting most likely the self-quenching of aggregated hypericin. There is also evidence of energy transfer from tryptophans of the constituent protein, apoB-100, to hypericin in LDL. The results demonstrate the ability of LDL to solubilize hypericin (a known photosensitizer) in nonaggregated form, which has implications for the construction of drug delivery systems.