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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2004 Jun 1;426(1):3-10.

Molten-globule like partially folded states of human serum albumin induced by fluoro and alkyl alcohols at low pH.

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  • 1Interdisciplinary Biotechnology Unit, A.M. University, Aligarh 202 002, India.


Human serum albumin (HSA) exists in a molten-globule like state at low pH (pH 2.0). We studied the effects of trifluoroethanol (TFE) and hexafluoroisopropanol (HFIP) on the acid-denatured state of HSA by far-UV circular dichroism (CD), near-UV CD, tryptophan fluorescence, and 1-anilinonaphthalene-8-sulfonic acid (ANS) binding. At pH 2.0, these alcohols induced the formation of alpha-helical structure as evident from the increase in mean residue ellipticity (MRE) value at 222 nm. On addition of different alcohols, HSA exhibited a transition from the acid-denatured state to the alpha-helical state and loss of ANS-binding sites reflected by the decrease in ANS fluorescence at 480 nm. However, the concentration range required to bring about the transition varied greatly among different alcohols. HFIP was found to have highest potential whereas methanol was least effective in inducing the transition. The order of effectiveness of alcohols was shown to be: HFIP > TFE > 2-chloroethanol > tert-butanol > isopropanol > ethanol > methanol as evident from the Cm values. The near-UV CD spectra and tryptophan fluorescence showed the differential effects of halogenated alcohols with those of alkanols. A comparison of the m values, showing the dependence of Delta GH on alcohol concentration, suggests that the helix stabilizing potential of different alcohols is due to the additive effect of different constituent groups present whereas remarkably higher potential of HFIP involves some other factor in addition to the contribution of constituent groups.

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