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Biochemistry. 1999 May 4;38(18):5888-95.

Binding kinetics of engineered mutants provide insight about the pathway for entering and exiting the intestinal fatty acid binding protein.

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Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, San Diego, California 92121, USA.


To better understand the mechanism by which fatty acids bind to and dissociate from the binding cavities of fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs), we constructed 31 single amino acid mutants of the intestinal FABP (I-FABP) and determined the rate constants for binding and dissociation, primarily for long-chain fatty acids (FA). FA dissociation from these proteins was measured both by the ADIFAB method and by the change in tryptophan fluorescence of the FABPs. Rate constants for binding (kon) were calculated from the rate constants for dissociation (koff) and the equilibrium binding affinities. Amino acid substitutions were made at locations within the binding cavity, in the region of the gap between the betaD- and betaE-strands, and within the "portal" region of the protein. The koff values for the mutant proteins ranged from about 20-fold slower to 4-fold faster than the wild-type (WT) protein. Values for kon were as much as 20-fold slower than the WT protein, but in no case was kon significantly faster than the WT. Mutants with slower and faster koff values were generally those involving sites within the binding cavity and, relative to the WT protein, revealed higher and lower affinities, respectively. Reduced rates of binding were generally, but not exclusively, associated with sites within the portal region. For example, for F68A which is located closer to the opposite end of the protein from the portal region, the kon is more than 10-fold slower than WT. Even for these distal sites, however, the evidence is consistent with reductions in kon being due to alterations of the portal region. Binding affinities and rate constants measured as a function of ionic strength also suggest that the FA initially binds, through an electrostatic interaction, to Arg-56 on the surface of the protein, before inserting into the binding cavity. Thus, the results of this study are consistent with FA binding to I-FABP involving an initial interaction with Arg-56 followed by insertion of the FA, through the portal region, into the binding cavity and with a reversal of these steps for the dissociation reaction.

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