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Biophys J. 2007 Oct 15;93(8):2756-66. Epub 2007 Jun 8.

Infrared spectroscopic discrimination between the loop and alpha-helices and determination of the loop diffusion kinetics by temperature-jump time-resolved infrared spectroscopy for cytochrome c.

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Laboratory of Soft Matter Physics, Beijing National Laboratory of Condensed Matter Physics, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080, China.


The infrared (IR) absorption of the amide I band for the loop structure may overlap with that of the alpha-helices, which can lead to the misassignment of the protein secondary structures. A resolution-enhanced Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopic method and temperature-jump (T-jump) time-resolved IR absorbance difference spectra were used to identify one specific loop absorption from the helical IR absorption bands of horse heart cytochrome c in D2O at a pD around 7.0. This small loop consists of residues 70-85 with Met-80 binding to the heme Fe(III). The FTIR spectra in amide I' region indicate that the loop and the helical absorption bands overlap at 1653 cm(-1) at room temperature. Thermal titration of the amide I' intensity at 1653 cm(-1) reveals that a transition in loop structural change occurs at lower temperature (Tm=45 degrees C), well before the global unfolding of the secondary structure (Tm approximately 82 degrees C). This loop structural change is assigned as being triggered by the Met-80 deligation from the heme Fe(III). T-jump time-resolved IR absorbance difference spectra reveal that a T-jump from 25 degrees C to 35 degrees C breaks the Fe-S bond between the Met-80 and the iron reversibly, which leads to a loop (1653 cm(-1), overlap with the helical absorption) to random coil (1645 cm(-1)) transition. The observed unfolding rate constant interpreted as the intrachain diffusion rate for this 16 residue loop was approximately 3.6x10(6) s(-1).

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