Arrival of the new Multiwavelength Beckman Optima analytical ultracentrifuge at the UCL Molecular Interactions Facility

We are very grateful to the UCL Capital Equipment Fund for the purchase of the new Beckman AUC Optima for the UCL Molecular Interactions Facility that arrived on 25th March 2019. This was installed after Easter and is starting to become operational. This is the first machine of its type to be installed permanently at an UK university. The pictures show (1) the arrival of the instrument on wheels, (2) what we found when the boxes were opened, and (3) the big smiles of our user community. The major development with this new AUC machine is the capability to measure macromolecular sedimentation across a full absorbance wavelength range, and not with a single wavelength as with the old Beckman AUC Proteome. Other advantages are the capacity to measure samples that are more dilute than with the old AUC. The instrument is highly complementary in scope to macromolecular data collected by NMR, crystallography, mass spectrometry, calorimetry and X-ray and neutron scattering. This should make a big difference to biophysical studies where measuring monodispersity or dissociation constants Kd values are important. For example, the binding of ligands with different chromophores can be monitored simultaneously but independently of the protein that they bind to. In the study of heterogeneous interactions, protein complexes in which one is labelled and the other is not can be monitored in detail, or likewise proteins with haem groups that absorb strongly in the visible region. We have already completed with Dr Lindsay McDermott (pictured) an interesting first project where different fatty acids with two distinct fluorescently-tagged chromophores bind to a lipid binding protein called zinc alpha2 glycoprotein. An account of how this method can be used to follow DNA or RNA binding to a protein at three wavelengths for DNA/RNA, protein and their complex is reported in a short review by Borries Demeler on the new multiwavelength AUC published in the current issue of the Biochemist, published by our Biochemical Society:,532Y,250YBQ,HPBK,1

Do please email Prof Steve Perkins ( or Mr Jayesh Gor ( if you are interested in discussing possibilities, or even applying this new instrument for your research.