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Journal/Book: J Mol Biol
Published: 2008
Pages: 686–698
Volume: 378
Accession no.: 153

Conserved folding pathways of alpha-lactalbumin and lysozyme revealed by kinetic CD, fluorescence, NMR, and interrupted refolding experiments.

Kai Schlepckow, Julia Wirmer, Annett Bachmann, Thomas Kiefhaber, Harald Schwalbe
In this report, it is shown by a combination of stopped-flow CD, fluorescence, and time-resolved NMR studies that the Ca(2+)-induced refolding of bovine alpha-lactalbumin (BLA) at constant denaturant concentration (4 M urea) exhibits triple-exponential kinetics. In order to distinguish between parallel folding pathways and a strictly sequential formation of the native state, interrupted refolding experiments were conducted. We show here that the Ca(2+)-induced refolding of BLA involves parallel pathways and the transient formation of a folding intermediate on the millisecond timescale. Our data furthermore suggest that the two structurally homologous proteins BLA and hen egg white lysozyme share a common folding mechanism. We provide evidence that the guiding role of long-range interactions in the unfolded state of lysozyme in mediating intersubdomain interactions during folding is replaced in the case of BLA by the Ca(2+)-binding site. Time-resolved NMR spectroscopy, in combination with fast ion release from caged compounds, enables the measurement of complex protein folding kinetics at protein concentrations as low as 100 microM and the concomitant detection of conformational transitions with rate constants of up to 8 s(-1).
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Prof. Dr. Harald Schwalbe
Institut für Organische Chemie und Chemische Biologie
Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität
Max-von-Laue-Str. 7
D-60438 Frankfurt am Main
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