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Biophys Chem. 2004 Sep 1;111(1):53-61.

Proton dependence of tobacco mosaic virus dissociation by pressure.

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Laboratório de Termodinâmica de Proteínas, Departamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, CP 6109, Campinas, SP, CEP 13083-970, Brazil.


Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) is an intensely studied model of viruses. This paper reports an investigation into the dissociation of TMV by pH and pressure up to 220 MPa. The viral solution (0.25 mg/ml) incubated at 277 K showed a significant decrease in light scattering with increasing pH, suggesting dissociation. This observation was confirmed by HPLC gel filtration and electron microscopy. The calculated volume change of dissociation (DeltaV) decreased (absolute value) from -49.7 ml/mol of subunit at pH 3.8 to -21.7 ml/mol of subunit at pH 9.0. The decrease from pH 9.0 to 3.8 caused a stabilization of 14.1 kJ/mol of TMV subunit. The estimated proton release calculated from pressure-induced dissociation curves was 0.584 mol H(+)/mol of TMV subunit. These results suggest that the degree of virus inactivation by pressure and the immunogenicity of the inactivated structures can be optimized by modulating the surrounding pH.

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