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J Biol Chem. 2001 Feb 9;276(6):4134-41. Epub 2000 Oct 18.

Structural events during the refolding of an all beta-sheet protein.

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Department of Chemistry, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan.


The refolding kinetics of the 140-residue, all beta-sheet, human fibroblast growth factor (hFGF-1) is studied using a variety of biophysical techniques such as stopped-flow fluorescence, stopped-flow circular dichroism, and quenched-flow hydrogen exchange in conjunction with multidimensional NMR spectroscopy. Urea-induced unfolding of hFGF-1 under equilibrium conditions reveals that the protein folds via a two-state (native <--> unfolded) mechanism without the accumulation of stable intermediates. However, measurement of the unfolding and refolding rates in various concentrations of urea shows that the refolding of hFGF-1 proceeds through accumulation of kinetic intermediates. Results of the quenched-flow hydrogen exchange experiments reveal that the hydrogen bonds linking the N- and C-terminal ends are the first to form during the refolding of hFGF-1. The basic beta-trefoil framework is provided by the simultaneous formation of beta-strands I, IV, IX, and X. The other beta-strands comprising the beta-barrel structure of hFGF-1 are formed relatively slowly with time constants ranging from 4 to 13 s.

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