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Biol Chem. 2001 Jun;382(6):961-8.

Assignment of the complete disulphide bridge pattern in the human recombinant follitropin beta-chain.

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  • 1Centro Internazionale di Servizi di Spettrometria di Massa, CNR-Università di Napoli Federico II, Napoli, Italy


The chemical assessment of the complete disulphide bridge pattern in the beta-chain of human recombinant follicotropin (betaFSH) was accomplished by integrating classical biochemical methodologies with mass spectrometric procedures. A proteolytic strategy consisting of a double digestion of native betaFSH using the broad-specificity protease subtilisin first, followed by trypsin, was employed. The resulting peptide mixture was directly analysed by FAB-MS, leading to the assignment of the first three disulphide bridges. The remaining S-S bridges were determined by HPLC fractionation of the proteolytic digest followed by ESMS analysis of the individual fractions. The pattern of cysteine couplings in betaFSH was determined as: Cys3-Cys5l, Cys17-Cys66, Cys20-Cys104, Cys28-Cys82, Cys32-Cys84 and Cys87-Cys94, confirming the arrangement inferred from the crystal structure of the homologous betaCG. A subset of the S-S bridge pattern comprising Cys3-Cys51, Cys28-Cys82 and Cys32-Cys84 constitutes a cysteine knot motif similar to that found in the growth factor superfamily.

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