Conformational properties of polyglutamine sequences in guanidine hydrochloride solutions

Md Khurshid Alam Khan, Bruce E. Bowler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Two sets of iso-1-cytochrome c variants have been prepared with N-terminal insertions of pure polyglutamine, i.e., PolyQ variants, or polyglutamine interrupted with lysine every sixth residue, i.e., Gln-rich variants. The polymer properties of these pure polyGln or Gln-rich sequences have been evaluated using equilibrium and kinetic His-heme loop formation methods for loop sizes ranging from 22 to 46 in 1.5, 3.0, and 6.0 M guanidine hydrochloride (GdnHCl). In 6.0 M GdnHCl, the scaling exponent, ν3, for the pure polyGln sequences, is ∼1.7 - significantly less than ν3 ≈ 2.15 for the Gln-rich sequences. The stability of the His-heme loops becomes progressively greater for the pure polyGln sequences relative to the Gln-rich sequences as GdnHCl concentration decreases from 6.0 to 1.5 M. Thus, the context of the sequence effects the polymer properties of Gln repeats even in denaturing concentrations of GdnHCl. Comparison of data for the Gln-rich variants with previous results for Gly-rich and Ala-rich variants shows that ν3 ∼ 2.2 for the Gln-rich, Gly-rich, and Ala-rich sequences in 6.0 M GdnHCl, whereas ν3 remains unchanged at 3.0 M GdnHCl concentration for the Gln-rich and Ala-rich sequences but decreases to ∼1.7 for the Gly-rich sequences. Thus, the polymer properties of Gln-rich and Ala-rich sequences are less sensitive to solvent quality in denaturing solutions of GdnHCl than Gly-rich sequences. Evaluation of Flory's characteristic ratio, Cn, for the Gln-rich and Ala-rich sequences relative to the Gly-rich sequences shows that Gln-rich sequences are stiffer than Ala-rich sequences at both 3.0 and 6.0 M GdnHCl.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1989-1999
Number of pages11
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 7 2012


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