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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Apr;1778(4):1015-26. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2007.12.028. Epub 2008 Jan 17.

Phospholipid membranes affect tertiary structure of the soluble cytochrome b5 heme-binding domain.

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Institute of Protein Research, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pushchino, Moscow Region, 142290 Russia.


The influence of charged phospholipid membranes on the conformational state of the water-soluble fragment of cytochrome b5 has been investigated by a variety of techniques at neutral pH. The results of this work provide the first evidence that aqueous solutions with high phospholipid/protein molar ratios (pH 7.2) induce the cytochrome to undergo a structural transition from the native conformation to an intermediate state with molten-globule like properties that occur in the presence of an artificial membrane surface and that leads to binding of the protein to the membrane. At other phospholipid/protein ratios, equilibrium was observed between cytochrome free in solution and cytochrome bound to the surface of vesicles. Inhibition of protein binding to the vesicles with increasing ionic strength indicated for the most part an electrostatic contribution to the stability of cytochrome b5-vesicle interactions at pH 7.2. The possible physiological role of membrane-induced conformational change in the structure of cytochrome b5 upon the interaction with its redox partners is discussed.

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