The Microcal VP-DSC is a calorimeter that utilizes differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). This method of calorimetry allows the instrument to investigate the stability of numerous biochemical compounds in solution; typical compounds analyzed by this instrument include proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and detergent micellar systems. As a microcalorimeter, it measures the heat changes from chemical processes occurring in small volume samples. These changes detected after denaturing help to better understand conformation and stability, as well as to provide insights on folding and refolding of compounds such as proteins. This method of analysis dramatically reduces the cost and time of acquiring structural data, which provides value for those attempting to optimize drug candidates or modify molecules. These applications make this instrument valuable in research, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical labs.
Using DSC enables the system to conduct high sensitivity analysis of the intramolecular stability of samples in solution. Because samples are analyzed directly in solution, there is no need to chemically modify samples prior to running the instrument. Determining the thermal transition midpoint (Tm) or the thermodynamic profile can elucidate much about the stability profiles of samples. Measuring the enthalpy change due to heat denaturation reveals the transition midpoint of a compound. A higher Tm correlates to a more stable compound due to it being determined by the equilibrium between native and the denatured conformations in solution. The thermodynamic profile, which is determined by the change in heat capacity after heat denaturation, suggests the factors that contribute to biomolecular stability in the native conformation. Structural factors include hydrophobic interactions, hydrogen bonding, conformational entropy, and even environmental factors. Determining these changes in sample conditions allows laboratories to gain valuable knowledge on the stability of experimental and production samples.
The VP-Capillary DSC is built to provide high throughput in addition to accurate compound analysis. Compatibility with 96-well microplates gives the instrument a high sample capacity and allows for many samples to be processed with minimal operator interaction. With the integration of an autosampler, the instrument can screen up to 50 samples per day while completely unattended. The calorimetric process is conducted in 61 tantalum cells, which provide extensive chemical resistance so as to ensure that samples do not interact with the testing environment. Lastly, analysis of samples in solution is not restricted by a compatibility with optical methods of detection, meaning any particulate suspension can be used regardless of opaqueness. All of these factors make for an easy to use instrument that provides rapid and reliable results.