Structural characterization of the transition state for folding of muscle acylphosphatase.

TitleStructural characterization of the transition state for folding of muscle acylphosphatase.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsChiti, F., N. Taddei, N. A. J. van Nuland, F. Magherini, M. Stefani, G. Ramponi, and C. M. Dobson
JournalJ Mol Biol
Date Published1998 Nov 6
KeywordsAcid Anhydride Hydrolases, Alcohols, Circular Dichroism, Cysteine, Fluorescence, Humans, Kinetics, Muscles, Mutation, Phosphates, Protein Folding, Temperature, Thermodynamics, Trifluoroethanol, Urea

The transition state for folding of a small protein, muscle acylphosphatase, has been studied by measuring the rates of folding and unfolding under a variety of solvent conditions. A strong dependence of the folding rate on the concentration of urea suggests the occurrence in the transition state of a large shielding of those groups that are exposed to interaction with the denaturant in the unfolded state (mainly hydrophobic moieties and groups located on the polypeptide backbone). The heat capacity change upon moving from the unfolded state to the transition state is small and is indicative of a substantial solvent exposure of hydrophobic groups. The solvent-accessibility of such groups in the transition state has also been found to be significant by measuring the rates of folding and unfolding in the presence of sugars. These rates have also been found to be accelerated by the addition of small quantities of alcohols. Trifluoroethanol and hexafluoroisopropanol were particularly effective, suggesting that stabilisation of local hydrogen bonds lowers the energy of the transition state relative to the folded and unfolded states. Finally, a study with a competitive inhibitor of acylphosphatase has provided evidence for the complete loss of ligand binding affinity in the transition state, indicating that specific long-range interactions at the level of the active site are not yet formed at this stage of the folding reaction. A model of the transition state for acylphosphatase folding, in which beta-turns and one or both alpha-helices are formed to a significant extent but in which the persistent long-range interactions characteristic of the folded state are largely absent, accounts for all our data. These results are broadly consistent with models of the transition states for folding of other small proteins derived from mutagenesis studies, and suggest that solvent perturbation methods can provide complementary information about the transition region of the energy surfaces for protein folding.

Alternate JournalJ. Mol. Biol.
PubMed ID9790847
Grant List / / Wellcome Trust / United Kingdom