Characterization of molten globule state of cytochrome c at alkaline, native and acidic pH induced by butanol and SDS.

Research paper by Aabgeena A Naeem, Rizwan Hasan RH Khan

Indexed on: 18 Aug '04Published on: 18 Aug '04Published in: The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology


In our earlier communications, we had studied the acid induced unfolding of stem bromelain, glucose oxidase and fetuin [Eur. J. Biochem. 269 (2002) 47; Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 303 (2003) 685; Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1649 (2003) 164] and effect of salts and alcohols on the acid unfolded state of alpha-chymotrypsinogen and stem bromelain [Biochim. Biophy. Acta 1481 (2000) 229; Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 413 (2) (2003) 199]. Here, we report the presence of molten globule like equilibrium intermediate state under alkaline, native and acid conditions in the presence of SDS and butanol. A systematic investigation of sodium dodecyl sulphate and butanol induced conformational alterations in alkaline (U(1)) and acidic (U(2)) unfolded states of horse heart ferricytochrome c was examined by circular dichroism (CD), tryptophan fluorescence and 1-anilino-8-napthalene sulfonate (ANS) binding. The cytochrome c (cyt c) at pH 9 and 2 shows the loss of approximately 61% and 65% helical secondary structure. Addition of increasing concentrations of butanol (0-7.2 M) and sodium dodecyl sulphate (0-5 mM) led to an increase in ellipticity value at 208 and 222 nm, which is the characteristic of formation of alpha-helical structure. Cyt c is a heme protein in which the tryptophan fluorescence is quenched in the native state by resonance energy transfer to the heme group attached to cystines at positions 14 and 17. At alkaline and acidic pH protein shows enhancement in tryptophan fluorescence and quenched ANS fluorescence. Addition of increasing concentration of butanol and SDS to alkaline or acid unfolded state leads to decrease in tryptophan and increase in ANS fluorescence with a blue shift in lambda(max), respectively. In the presence of 7.2 M butanol and 5 mM SDS two different intermediate states I(1) and I(2) were obtained at alkaline and acidic pH, respectively. States I(1) and I(2) have native like secondary structure with disordered side chains (loss of tertiary structure) as predicted from tryptophan fluorescence and high ANS binding. These results altogether imply that the butanol and SDS induced intermediate states at alkaline and acid pH lies between the unfolded and native state. At pH 6, in the presence of 7.2 M butanol or 5 mM SDS leads to the loss of CD bands at 208 and 222 nm with the appearance of trough at 228 nm also with increase in tryptophan and ANS fluorescence in contrast to native protein. This partially unfolded intermediate state obtained represents the folding pathway from native to unfolded structure. To summarize; the 7.2 M butanol and 5 mM SDS stabilizes the intermediate state (I(1) and I(2)) obtained at low and alkaline pH. While the same destabilizes the native structure of protein at pH 6, suggesting a difference in the mechanism of conformational stability.