Tolerance of Arc repressor to multiple-alanine substitutions.
Arc repressor mutants containing from three to 15 multiple-alanine substitutions have spectral properties expected for native Arc proteins, form heterodimers with wild-type Arc, denature cooperatively with Tms equal to or greater than wild type, and, in some cases, fold as much as 30-fold faster and unfold as much as 50-fold slower than wild type. Two of the mutants, containing a total of 14 different substitutions, also footprint operator DNA in vitro. The stability of some of the proteins with multiple-alanine mutations is significantly greater than that predicted from the sum of the single substitutions, suggesting that a subset of the wild-type residues in Arc may interact in an unfavorable fashion. Overall, these results show that almost half of the residues in Arc can be replaced by alanine en masse without compromising the ability of this small, homodimeric protein to fold into a stable, native-like structure. (+info
Characterization of the nucleoside triphosphatase activity of poliovirus protein 2C reveals a mechanism by which guanidine inhibits poliovirus replication.
The highly conserved non-structural protein 2C of picornaviruses is involved in viral genome replication and encapsidation and in the rearrangement of intracellular structures. 2C binds RNA, has nucleoside triphosphatase activity, and shares three motifs with superfamily III helicases. Motifs "A" and "B" are involved in nucleotide triphosphate (NTP) binding and hydrolysis, whereas a function for motif "C" has not yet been demonstrated. Poliovirus RNA replication is inhibited by millimolar concentrations of guanidine hydrochloride (GdnHCl). Resistance and dependence to GdnHCl map to 2C. To characterize the nucleoside triphosphatase activity of 2C, we purified poliovirus recombinant 2C fused to glutathione S-transferase (GST-2C) from Escherichia coli. GST-2C hydrolyzed ATP with a Km of 0.7 mM. Other NTPs, including GTP, competed with ATP for binding to 2C but were poor substrates for hydrolysis. Mutation of conserved residues in motif A and B abolished ATPase activity, as did mutation of the conserved asparagine residue in motif C, an observation indicating the involvement of this motif in ATP hydrolysis. GdnHCl at millimolar concentrations inhibited ATP hydrolysis. Mutations in 2C that confer poliovirus resistant to or dependent on GdnHCl increased the tolerance to GdnHCl up to 100-fold. (+info
Structural characteristics of supramolecular assemblies formed by guanidinium-cholesterol reagents for gene transfection.
We have recently discovered that cationic cholesterol derivatives characterized by guanidinium polar headgroups are very efficient for gene transfection in vitro and in vivo. In spite of being based on some rationale at the molecular level, the development of these new synthetic vectors was nevertheless empirical. Indeed, the factors and processes underlying cationic lipid-mediated gene transfer are still poorly understood. Thus, to get a better insight into the mechanisms involved, we have examined the supramolecular structure of lipid/DNA aggregates obtained when using reagent bis(guanidinium)-tren-cholesterol (BGTC), either alone or as a liposomal formulation with the neutral phospholipid dioleoyl phosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE). We here report the results of cryotransmission electron microscopy studies and small-angle x-ray scattering experiments, indicating the presence of multilamellar domains with a regular spacing of 70 A and 68 A in BGTC/DOPE-DNA and BGTC-DNA aggregates, respectively. In addition, DNA lipoplexes with similar lamellar patterns were detected inside transfected HeLa cells by conventional transmission electron microscopy. These results suggest that DNA condensation by multivalent guanidinium-cholesterol cationic lipids involves the formation of highly ordered multilamellar domains, the DNA molecules being intercalated between the lipid bilayers. These results also invite further investigation of the intracellular fate of the internalized lipid/DNA structures during their trafficking toward the cell nucleus. The identification of the basic features of active complexes should indeed help in the design of improved guanidinium-based vectors. (+info
The magnitude of changes in guanidine-HCl unfolding m-values in the protein, iso-1-cytochrome c, depends upon the substructure containing the mutation.
Hydrophilic to hydrophobic mutations have been made at 11 solvent exposed sites on the surface of iso-1-cytochrome c. Most of these mutations involve the replacement of lysine with methionine, which is nearly isosteric with lysine. Minimal perturbation to the native structure is expected, and this expectation is confirmed by infrared amide I spectroscopy. Guanidine hydrochloride denaturation studies demonstrate that these variants affect the magnitude of the m-value, the rate of change of free energy with respect to denaturant concentration, to different degrees. Changes in m-values are indicative of changes in the equilibrium folding mechanism of a protein. Decreases in m-values are normally thought to result either from an increased population of intermediates during unfolding or from a more compact denatured state. When cytochrome c is considered in terms of its thermodynamic substructures, the changes in the m-value for a given variant appear to depend upon the substructure in which the mutation is made. These data indicate that the relative stabilities and physical properties of substructures of cytochrome c play an important determining role in the equilibrium folding mechanism of this protein. (+info
Opposite behavior of two isozymes when refolding in the presence of non-ionic detergents.
GroEL has a greater affinity for the mitochondrial isozyme (mAAT) of aspartate aminotransferase than for its cytosolic counterpart (cAAT) (Mattingly JR Jr, Iriarte A, Martinez-Carrion M, 1995, J Biol Chem 270:1138-1148), two proteins that share a high degree of sequence similarity and an almost identical spatial structure. The effect of detergents on the refolding of these large, dimeric isozymes parallels this difference in behavior. The presence of non-ionic detergents such as Triton X-100 or lubrol at concentrations above their critical micelle concentration (CMC) interferes with reactivation of mAAT unfolded in guanidinium chloride but increases the yield of cAAT refolding at low temperatures. The inhibitory effect of detergents on the reactivation of mAAT decreases progressively as the addition of detergents is delayed after starting the refolding reaction. The rate of disappearance of the species with affinity for binding detergents coincides with the slowest of the two rate-limiting steps detected in the refolding pathway of mAAT. Limited proteolysis studies indicate that the overall structure of the detergent-bound mAAT resembles that of the protein in a complex with GroEL. The mAAT folding intermediates trapped in the presence of detergents can resume reactivation either upon dilution of the detergent below its CMC or by adding beta-cyclodextrin. Thus, isolation of otherwise transient productive folding intermediates for further characterization is possible through the use of detergents. (+info
Turn scanning by site-directed mutagenesis: application to the protein folding problem using the intestinal fatty acid binding protein.
We have systematically mutated residues located in turns between beta-strands of the intestinal fatty acid binding protein (IFABP), and a glycine in a half turn, to valine and have examined the stability, refolding rate constants and ligand dissociation constants for each mutant protein. IFABP is an almost all beta-sheet protein exhibiting a topology comprised of two five-stranded sheets surrounding a large cavity into which the fatty acid ligand binds. A glycine residue is located in seven of the eight turns between the antiparallel beta-strands and another in a half turn of a strand connecting the front and back sheets. Mutations in any of the three turns connecting the last four C-terminal strands slow the folding and decrease stability with the mutation between the last two strands slowing folding dramatically. These data suggest that interactions between the last four C-terminal strands are highly cooperative, perhaps triggered by an initial hydrophobic collapse. We suggest that this trigger is collapse of the highly hydrophobic cluster of amino acids in the D and E strands, a region previously shown to also affect the last stage of the folding process (Kim et al., 1997). Changing the glycine in the strand between the front and back sheets also results in a unstable, slow folding protein perhaps disrupting the D-E strand interactions. For most of the other turn mutations there was no apparent correlation between stability and refolding rate constants. In some turns, the interaction between strands, rather than the turn type, appears to be critical for folding while in others, turn formation itself appears to be a rate limiting step. Although there is no simple correlation between turn formation and folding kinetics, we propose that turn scanning by mutagenesis will be a useful tool for issues related to protein folding. (+info
Evidence for the existence of an unfolding intermediate state for aminoacylase during denaturation in guanidine solutions.
The equilibrium unfolding of pig kidney aminoacylase in guanidinium chloride (GdmCl) solutions was studied by following the fluorescence and circular dichroism (CD). At low concentrations of GdmCl, less than 1.0 M, the fluorescence intensity decreased with a slight red shift of the emission maximum (from 335 to 340 nm). An unfolding intermediate was observed in low concentrations of denaturant (between 1.2 and 1.6 M GdmCl). This intermediate was characterized by a decreased fluorescence emission intensity, a red-shifted emission maximum, and increased binding of the fluorescence probe 1-anilino-8-naphthalenesulfonate. No significant changes of the secondary structure were indicated by CD measurement. This conformation state is similar to a molten globule state which may exist in the pathway of protein folding. Further changes in the fluorescence properties occurred at higher concentrations of GdmCl, more than 1.6 M, with a decrease in emission intensity and a significant red shift of the emission maximum from 340 to 354 nm. In this stage, the secondary structure was completely broken. A study of apo-enzyme (Zn2+-free enzyme) produced similar results. However, comparison of the changes of the fluorescence emission spectra of native (Holo-) enzyme with Zn2+-free (Apo-) enzyme at low GdmCl concentrations showed that the structure of the Holo-enzyme was more stable than that of the Apo-enzyme. (+info
Characterization of a molten globule state of bovine carbonic anhydrase III: loss of asymmetrical environment of the aromatic residues has a profound effect on both the near- and far-UV CD spectrum.
Bovine muscle carbonic anhydrase (isoenzyme III; BCAIII) exhibited a three-state unfolding process at equilibrium upon denaturation in guanidine hydrochloride (GuHCl). The stable folding intermediate appeared to be of molten globule type. The stability towards GuHCl in terms of mid-point concentrations of denaturation were very similar for BCAIII and human CAII (HCAII). It was further demonstrated that the aromatic amino acid residues contributed significantly to the circular dichroism (CD) spectrum in the far-UV wavelength region during the native-->molten globule state transition. Thus, the ellipiticity change at 218 nm was shown to monitor the loss of tertiary interactions of aromatic side chains at the first unfolding transition as well as the rupture of secondary structure at the second unfolding transition. Similar aromatic contributions to the far-UV CD spectrum, but with varying magnitudes, were also noted for BCAII and HCAII, further emphasizing that interference of aromatic residues should not be neglected at wavelengths that normally are assigned to secondary structural changes. (+info