AAT Bioquest

What is the difference between protein degradation and denaturation?

Posted June 22, 2020


In protein degradation, the primary structure is destroyed, which means the covalent peptide bonds are broken. However, denaturation only involves the unfolding of a protein, where quaternary, tertiary and secondary structures are disrupted but primary structure remains intact.

Degraded proteins can still have a secondary or tertiary structure and can even still have their biological activity in some cases, whereas denatured proteins lose its biological function because the function is directly dependent on its structure.

Additional resources

Amplite™ Fluorimetric Fluorescamine Protein Quantitation Kit *Blue Fluorescence*

Amplite™ Rapid Colorimetric Total Protein Thiol Quantitation Assay Kit

Branden, C. I., & Tooze, J. (2012). Introduction to protein structure. Garland Science.

Tanford, C. (1968). Protein denaturation. In Advances in protein chemistry (Vol. 23, pp. 121-282). Academic press.