Unfolding process of rusticyanin: evidence of protein aggregation. (65/282)

The unfolding process of the Blue Copper Protein (BCP) rusticyanin (Rc) has been studied using a wide variety of biochemical techniques. Fluorescence and CD spectroscopies reveal that the copper ion plays an essential role in stabilizing the protein and that the oxidized form is more efficient than the reduced species in this respect. The addition of guanidinium chloride to Rc samples produces aggregation of the protein. Gel filtration chromatography and glutaraldehyde cross-linking experiments confirm the formation of such aggregates. Among the BCPs, this feature is exclusive to Rc. The aggregation could be related to the large molecular mass and large number of hydrophobic residues of this protein compared with those of other BCPs.  (+info)

Exploring amino-acid radical chemistry: protein engineering and de novo design. (66/282)

Amino-acid radical enzymes are often highly complex structures containing multiple protein subunits and cofactors. These properties have in many cases hampered the detailed characterization of their amino-acid redox cofactors. To address this problem, a range of approaches has recently been developed in which a common strategy is to reduce the complexity of the radical-containing system. This work will be reviewed and it includes the light-induced generation of aromatic radicals in small-molecule and peptide systems. Natural redox proteins, including the blue copper protein azurin and a bacterial photosynthetic reaction center, have been engineered to introduce amino-acid radical chemistry. The redesign strategies to achieve this remarkable change in the properties of these proteins will be described. An additional approach to gain insights into the properties of amino-acid radicals is to synthesize de novo designed model proteins in which the redox chemistry of these species can be studied. Here we describe the design, synthesis and characteristics of monomeric three-helix bundle and four-helix bundle proteins designed to study the redox chemistry of tryptophan and tyrosine. This work demonstrates that de novo protein design combined with structural, electrochemical and quantum chemical analyses can provide detailed information on how the protein matrix tunes the thermodynamic properties of tryptophan.  (+info)

Protein dynamics and electron transfer: electronic decoherence and non-Condon effects. (67/282)

We compute the autocorrelation function of the donor-acceptor tunneling matrix element for six Ru-azurin derivatives. Comparison of this decay time to the decay time of the time-dependent Franck-Condon factor {computed by Rossky and coworkers [Lockwood, D. M., Cheng, Y.-K. & Rossky, P. J. (2001) Chem. Phys. Lett. 345, 159-165]} reveals the extent to which non-Condon effects influence the electron-transfer rate. is studied as a function of donor-acceptor distance, tunneling pathway structure, tunneling energy, and temperature to explore the structural and dynamical origins of non-Condon effects. For azurin, the correlation function is remarkably insensitive to tunneling pathway structure. The decay time is only slightly shorter than it is for solvent-mediated electron transfer in small organic molecules and originates, largely, from fluctuations of valence angles rather than bond lengths.  (+info)

Transient homodimer interactions studied using the electron self-exchange reaction. (68/282)

Transient homodimer protein interactions have been investigated by analyzing the influence of ionic strength (NaCl) on the electron self-exchange (the bimolecular reaction whereby the two oxidation states of a redox protein interconvert) rate constant (k(ese)) of four plastocyanins. The k(ese) values for the plastocyanins from spinach, Dryopteris crassirhizoma (a fern), and the green alga Ulva pertusa, which possess acidic patches of varying size and locations, increase 190-, 29-, and 21-fold, respectively, at elevated ionic strength (I = 2.03 M). In contrast, the k(ese) for the almost neutral cyanobacterial plastocyanin from Anabaena variabilis exhibits very little dependence on ionic strength. The temperature dependence of the k(ese) for spinach plastocyanin (I = 0.28 M) provides evidence for poor packing at the homodimer interface. Representative structures of the transient homodimers involved in electron self-exchange, which are consistent with fits of the ionic strength dependence of k(ese) to van Leeuwen theory, have been obtained from protein modeling and docking simulations. The Coulombic energy of the docked homodimers follows the order spinach > D. crassirhizoma > U. pertusa > A. variabilis, which matches that of the overall influence of ionic strength on k(ese). Analysis of the homodimer structures indicates that poor packing and high planarity are features of the interface that favor transient interactions. The physiologically relevant Mg2+ ion has a much more pronounced influence on the k(ese) of spinach plastocyanin, which along with the known properties of the thylakoid lumen suggests a biological role for electron self-exchange.  (+info)

Role of structural determinants in folding of the sandwich-like protein Pseudomonas aeruginosa azurin. (69/282)

An invariant substructure that forms two interlocked pairs of neighboring beta-strands occurs in essentially all known sandwich-like proteins. Eight conserved positions in these strands were recently shown to act as structural determinants. To test whether the residues at these invariant positions are conserved for mechanistic (i.e., part of folding nucleus) or energetic (i.e., governing native-state stability) reasons, we characterized the folding behavior of eight point-mutated variants of the sandwich-like protein Pseudomonas aeruginosa apo-azurin. We find a simple relationship among the conserved positions: half of the residues form native-like interactions in the folding transition state, whereas the others do not participate in the folding nucleus but govern high native-state stability. Thus, evolutionary preservation of these specific positions gives both mechanistic and energetic advantages to members of the sandwich-like protein family.  (+info)

Characterization and crystal structure of zinc azurin, a by-product of heterologous expression in Escherichia coli of Pseudomonas aeruginosa copper azurin. (70/282)

Azurin*, a by-product of heterologous expression of the gene encoding the blue copper protein azurin from Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Escherichia coli, was characterized by chemical analysis and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, and its structure determined by X-ray crystallography. It was shown that azurin* is native azurin with its copper atom replaced by zinc in the metal binding site. Zinc is probably incorporated in the apo-protein after its expression and transport into the periplasm. Holo-azurin can be reconstituted from azurin* by prolonged exposure of the protein to high copper ion concentrations or unfolding of the protein and refolding in the presence of copper ions. An X-ray crystallographic analysis of azurin* at 0.21-nm resolution revealed that the overall structure of azurin is not perturbed by the metal exchange. However, the geometry of the co-ordination sphere changes from trigonal bipyramidal in the case of copper azurin to distorted tetrahedral for the zinc protein. The copper ligand Met121 is no longer co-ordinated to zinc which adopts a position close to the carbonyl oxygen atom from residue Gly45. The polypeptide structure surrounding the metal site undergoes moderate reorganization upon zinc binding. The largest displacement observed is for the carbonyl oxygen from residue Gly45, which is involved in copper and zinc binding. It moves by 0.03 nm towards the zinc, thereby reducing its distance to the metal from 0.29 nm in the copper protein to 0.23 nm in the derivative.  (+info)

Effects of sucrose on the internal dynamics of azurin. (71/282)

Sucrose is a natural osmolyte accumulated in cells of organisms as they adapt to environmental stresses. In vitro, sucrose increases protein stability and forces partially unfolded structures to refold. Its effects on the native fold structure and dynamics are not fully established. This study, utilizing Trp phosphorescence spectroscopy, examined the influence of molar concentrations of sucrose on the flexibility of metal-free azurin from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In addition, by means of specific mutants of the test protein, namely I7S, F110S, and C3A/C26A, that altered its thermodynamic stability, its intrinsic flexibility, and the extent of internal hydration, this investigation sought to identify possible correlations between these features of protein structure and the influence of the osmolyte on protein dynamics. Alterations of structural fluctuations were assessed by both the intrinsic phosphorescence lifetime (tau), which reports on local structure about the triplet probe, and the acrylamide bimolecular quenching rate constant (k(q)) that is a measure of the average acrylamide diffusion coefficient through the macromolecule. From the modulation of tau and k(q) across a wide temperature range and up to a concentration of 2M sucrose, it is concluded that sucrose attenuates structural fluctuations principally when macromolecules are internally hydrated and thermally expanded. Preliminary tests with trehalose and xylitol suggest that the effects of sucrose are general of the polyol class of osmolytes.  (+info)

An NMR view of the unfolding process of rusticyanin: Structural elements that maintain the architecture of a beta-barrel metalloprotein. (72/282)

The unfolding process of the blue copper protein rusticyanin (Rc) as well as its dynamic and D(2)O/H(2)O exchange properties in an incipient unfolded state have been studied by heteronuclear NMR spectroscopy. Titrations of apo, Cu(I), and Cu(II)Rc with guanidinium chloride (GdmCl) show that the copper ion stabilizes the folded species and remains bound in the completely unfolded state. The oxidized state of the copper ion is more efficient than the reduced form in this respect. The long loop of Rc (where the first ligand of the copper ion is located) is one of the most mobile domains of the protein. This region has no defined secondary structure elements and is prone to exchange its amide protons. In contrast, the last loop (including a short alpha-helix) and the last beta-strand (where the other three ligands of the metal ion are located) form the most rigid domain of the protein. The results taken as a whole suggest that the first ligand detaches from the metal ion when the protein unfolds, while the other three ligands remain bound to it. The implications of these findings for the biological folding process of Rc are also discussed.  (+info)