PMID: 6005Feb 1, 1976

Equilibrium and kinetic studies of the aggregation of porphyrins in aqueous solution

The Biochemical Journal
S B BrownP Jones


An investigation of the behavior of protoporphyrin IX, deuteroporphyrin IX, haematoporphyrin IX and coproporphyrin III in aqueous solution revealed extensive and complex aggregation processes. Protoporphyrin appears to be highly aggregated under all conditions studied. At concentrations below 4 muM, aggregation of deutero-, haemato- and coproporphyrin is probably restricted to dimerization. At approx. 4muM each of these three porphyrins exhibits sharp changes in spectra consistent with a "micellization" process to form large aggregates of unknown size. This critical concentration increases with increasing temperature and pH, but is not very sensitive to variation in ionic strength. Temperature-jump kinetic studies on deuteroporphyrin also imply an initial dimerization process, the rate constants for which are comparable with those for various synthetic porphyrins, followed by a further extensive aggragation. The ability of a particular porphyrin to dimerize appears to parallel that of the corresponding iron(III) complexes (ferrihaems), although it is thought that ferrihaems do not exhibit further aggregation under these conditions.


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