Helical Propensity Affects the Conformational Properties of the Denatured State of Cytochrome c′

Travis A. Danielson, Bruce E. Bowler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Changing the helical propensity of a polypeptide sequence might be expected to affect the conformational properties of the denatured state of a protein. To test this hypothesis, alanines at positions 83 and 87 near the center of helix 3 of cytochrome c′ from Rhodopseudomonas palustris were mutated to serine to decrease the stability of this helix. A set of 13 single histidine variants in the A83S/A87S background were prepared to permit assessment of the conformational properties of the denatured state using histidine-loop formation in 3 M guanidine hydrochloride. The data are compared with previous histidine-heme loop formation data for wild-type cytochrome c′. As expected, destabilization of helix 3 decreases the global stabilities of the histidine variants in the A83S/A87S background relative to the wild-type background. Loop stability versus loop size data yields a scaling exponent of 2.1 ± 0.2, similar to the value of 2.3 ± 0.2 obtained for wild-type cytochrome c′. However, the stabilities of all histidine-heme loops, which contain the helix 3 sequence segment, are increased in the A83S/A87S background compared to the wild-type background. Rate constants for histidine-heme loop breakage are similar for the wild-type and A83S/A87S variants. However, for histidine-heme loops that contain the helix 3 sequence segment, the rate constants for loop formation increase in the A83S/A87S background compared to the wild-type background. Thus, residual helical structure appears to stiffen the polypeptide chain slowing loop formation in the denatured state. The implications of these results for protein folding mechanisms are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-322
Number of pages12
JournalBiophysical Journal
Volume114
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 23 2018

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