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Langmuir. 2011 Jan 4;27(1):286-95. doi: 10.1021/la103793r. Epub 2010 Nov 30.

Protein stability and structure in HIC: hydrogen exchange experiments and COREX calculations.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4741, United States.


Hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry (HXMS) coupled to proteolytic digestion has been used to probe the conformation of bovine β-lactoglobulin (BLG), bovine α-lactalbumin (BLA), and human serum albumin (HSA) in solution and while adsorbed to the hydrophobic interaction chromatography media Phenyl Sepharose 6FF. All three proteins show evidence of EX1 exchange kinetics, indicating a loss of stability on the surface. HX protection patterns for all three proteins also indicate that the unfolded form is only partially solvent exposed. The hydrogen-deuterium exchange patterns of BLG and BLA on the surface suggest a structure that resembles each protein's respective solution phase molten globule state. The low stability of Domain II of HSA observed on Phenyl Sepharose 6FF also suggests a link to solution stability because Domain II is frequently cited as the least stable domain in solution unfolding pathways. COREX, an algorithm used to compute protein folding stabilities, correctly predicts solution hydrogen-deuterium exchange patterns for BLG and offers insight into its adsorbed phase stabilities but is unreliable for BLA predictions. The results of this work demonstrate a link between solution-phase local stability patterns and the nature of partially unfolded states that proteins can adopt on HIC surfaces.

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