A general approach for detecting folding intermediates from staedy-state and time-resolved fluorescence of single-tryptophan-containing proteins

S. Laptenok, N.V. Visser, A. Ruchira, A.H. Westphal, A. van Hoek, C.P.M. van Mierlo, I.H.M. van Stokkum, H. van Amerongen, A.J.W.G. Visser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

During denaturant-induced equilibrium (un)folding of wild-type apoflavodoxin from Azotobacter vinelandii, a molten globule-like folding intermediate is formed. This wild-type protein contains three tryptophans. In this study, we use a general approach to analyze time-resolved fluorescence and steady-state fluorescence data that are obtained upon denaturant-induced unfolding of a single-tryptophan-containing variant of apoflavodoxin [i.e., W74/F128/F167 (WFF) apoflavodoxin]. The experimental data are assembled in matrices, and subsequent singular-value decomposition of these matrices (i.e., based on either steady-state or time-resolved fluorescence data) shows the presence of three significant, and independent, components. Consequently, to further analyze the denaturation trajectories, we use a three-state protein folding model in which a folding intermediate and native and unfolded protein molecules take part. Using a global analysis procedure, we determine the relative concentrations of the species involved and show that the stability of WFF apoflavodoxin against global unfolding is 4.1 kcal/mol. Analysis of time-resolved anisotropy data of WFF apoflavodoxin unfolding reveals the remarkable observation that W74 is equally well fixed within both the native protein and the molten globule-like folding intermediate. Slight differences between the direct environments of W74 in the folding intermediate and native protein cause different rotameric populations of the indole in both folding species as fluorescence lifetime analysis reveals. Importantly, thermodynamic analyses of the spectral denaturation trajectories of the double-tryptophan-containing protein variants WWF apoflavodoxin and WFW apoflavodoxin show that these variants are significantly more stable (5.9 kcal/mol and 6.8 kcal/mol, respectively) than WFF apoflavodoxin (4.1 kcal/mol) Hence, tryptophan residues contribute considerably to the 10.5 kcal/mol thermodynamic stability of native wild-type apoflavodoxin
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3441-3450
JournalBiochemistry
Volume50
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • azotobacter-vinelandii
  • apoflavodoxin
  • pathway
  • spectroscopy
  • peptide

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