Fluorescence probe of Trp-cage protein conformation in solution and in gas phase
2007 (English)In: Journal of the American Chemical Society, ISSN 0002-7863, E-ISSN 1520-5126, Vol. 129, no 21, 6726-6735 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Measurements of protein unfolding in the absence of solvent, when combined with unfolding studies in solution, offer a unique opportunity to measure the effects of solvent on protein structure and dynamics. The experiments presented here rely on the fluorescence of an attached dye to probe the local conformational dynamics through interactions with a Trp residue and fields originating on charge sites. We present fluorescence measurements of thermal fluctuations accompanying conformational change of a miniprotein, Trp-cage, in solution and in gas phase. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are performed as a function of temperature, charge state, and charge location to elucidate the dye-protein conformational dynamics leading to the changes in measured fluorescence. The results indicate that the stability of the unsolvated protein is dominated by hydrogen bonds. Substituting asparagine for aspartic acid at position 9 results in a dramatic alteration of the solution unfolding curve, indicating that the salt bridge involving Lys8, Asp9, and Arg16 (+ - +) is essential for Trp-cage stability in solution. In contrast, this substitution results in minor changes in the unfolding curve of the unsolvated protein, showing that hydrogen bonds are the major contributor to the stability of Trp-cage in gas phase. Consistent with this hypothesis, the decrease in the number of hydrogen bonds with increasing temperature indicated by MD simulations agrees reasonably well with the experimentally derived enthalpies of conformational change. The simulation results display relatively compact conformations compared with NMR structures that are generally consistent with experimental results. The measured unfolding curves of unsolvated Trp-cage ions are invariant with the acetonitrile content of the solution from which they are formed, possibly as a result of conformational relaxation during or after desolvation. This work demonstrates the power of combined solution and gas-phase studies and of single-point mutations to identify specific noncovalent interactions which contribute to protein-fold stability. The combination of experiment and simulation is particularly useful because these approaches yield complementary information which can be used to deduce the details of structural changes of proteins in the gas phase.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 129, no 21, 6726-6735 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-96402DOI: 10.1021/ja065092sISI: 000246686700032PubMedID: 17487969OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-96402DiVA: diva2:170966