Urea is a chaotropic agent and is used for protein denaturation. It disturbs the hydrogen bonds in the secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins. It can also disturb hydrogen bonding present in DNA secondary structure.
Useful for solubilizing and denaturing proteins in preparation for 2D-PAGE, enzymatic digests, IMAC Chromatography, and related procedures. Urea has been used for protein sample preparation for reverse-phase nanospray liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.