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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Nov;1784(11):1835-43. doi: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2008.07.017. Epub 2008 Aug 16.

Tryptophan fluorescence reveals induced folding of Vibrio harveyi acyl carrier protein upon interaction with partner enzymes.

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Atlantic Research Centre, Department of Pediatrics, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


We have introduced tryptophan as a local fluorescent probe to monitor the conformation of Vibrio harveyi acyl carrier protein (ACP), a small flexible protein that is unfolded at neutral pH but must undergo reversible conformational change during the synthesis and delivery of bacterial fatty acids. Consistent with known 3D structures of ACP, steady-state fluorescence and quenching experiments indicated that Trp at positions 46, 50, and 72 are buried in the hydrophobic core upon Mg(2+)-induced ACP folding, whereas residues 25 and 45 remain in a hydrophilic environment on the protein surface. Attachment of fatty acids to the phosphopantetheine prosthetic group progressively stabilized the folded conformation of all Trp-substituted ACPs, but longer chains (14:0) were less effective than medium chains (8:0) in shielding Trp from acrylamide quenching in the L46W protein. Interaction with ACP-dependent enzymes LpxA and holo-ACP synthase also caused folding of L46W; fluorescence quenching indicated proximity of Trp-45 in helix II of ACP in LpxA binding. Our results suggest that divalent cations and fatty acylation produce differing environments in the ACP core and also reveal enzyme partner-induced folding of ACP, a key feature of "natively unfolded" proteins.

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