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Biophys Chem. 2010 Jun;149(1-2):47-57. doi: 10.1016/j.bpc.2010.03.017. Epub 2010 Apr 9.

Excited protein states of human tear lipocalin for low- and high-affinity ligand binding revealed by functional AB loop motion.

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Department of Pathology, University of California at Los Angeles, USA.


Human tear lipocalin (TL), a prominent member of lipocalin family, exhibits functional and structural promiscuity. The plasticity of loop regions modulates entry to the ligand pocket at the "open" end of the eight-stranded beta-barrel. Site-directed multi-distance measurements using fluorescence resonance energy transfer between functional loops register two excited protein states for low- and high-affinity ligand binding. At low pH, the longest loop AB adopts the conformation of the low-affinity excited protein state that matches the crystal structure of holo-TL at pH 8. A "crankshaft" like movement is detected for the loop AB in a low pH transition. At pH 7.3 the holo-protein assumes a high-affinity excited protein state, in which the loop AB is more compact (RMS=3.1A). In the apo-holo transition, the reporter Trp 28 moves about 4.5A that reflects a decrease in distance between Glu27 and Lys108. This interaction fixes the loop AB conformation for the high-affinity mode. No such movement is detected at low pH, where Glu27 is protonated. Data strongly indicate that the protonation state of Glu27 modulates the conformation of the loop AB for high- and low-affinity binding.

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