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Biochemistry. 1993 Jan 19;32(2):669-78.

A partially folded state of hen egg white lysozyme in trifluoroethanol: structural characterization and implications for protein folding.

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  • 1Oxford Centre for Molecular Sciences, University of Oxford, England.


The effect of 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol (TFE) on the solution conformation of hen egg white lysozyme has been investigated using circular dichroism (CD) and 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Addition of TFE to lysozyme at pH 2.0, 27 degrees C, up to a concentration of 15% (v/v) induces only slight changes in the NMR spectrum. However, above this concentration a cooperative transition to a new but partially structured state of the protein is observed. This state shows no structural cooperativity against further denaturation and is characterized by an ellipticity in the far-UV CD greater than that of the native protein. Near-UV CD intensity is dramatically reduced compared with that of the native state, and 1H NMR studies indicate that side-chain interactions are substantially averaged in this denatured state. Solvent proton/deuterium exchange rates for 66 amide hydrogens were measured site-specifically by a combination of amide trapping experiments and 2D 1H NMR. Significant protection from exchange occurs for about 25 backbone amides, the majority of which are located in regions of the protein that are helical in the native enzyme. By contrast, amides located in a second region of the native protein which contains a beta-sheet and one 3(10)-helix as well as a long loop show little protection. This pattern of protection resembles that found in the stable molten globule state of alpha-lactalbumin and in an early kinetic intermediate detected in the refolding of hen lysozyme.

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