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Biochimie. 2013 Jun;95(6):1127-35. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2012.12.018. Epub 2013 Jan 31.

Picosecond-resolved solvent reorganization and energy transfer in biological and model cavities.

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Department of Chemical, Biological & Macromolecular Sciences, S.N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Block JD, Sector III, Salt Lake, Kolkata 700 098, India.


Water molecules in hydrophobic biological cleft/cavities are of contemporary interest for the biomolecular structure and molecular recognition of hydrophobic ligands/drugs. Here, we have explored picosecond-resolved solvation dynamics of water molecules and associated polar amino acids in the hydrophobic cleft around Cys-34 position of Endogenous Serum Albumin (ESA). While site selective acrylodan labeling to Cys-34 allows us to probe solvation in the cleft, Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) from intrinsic fluorescent amino acid Trp 214 to the extrinsic acrylodan probes structural integrity of the protein in our experimental condition. Temperature dependent solvation in the cleft clearly shows that the dynamics follows Arrhenius type behavior up to 60 °C, after which a major structural perturbation of the protein is evident. We have also monitored polarization gated dynamics of the acrylodan probe and FRET from Trp 214 to acrylodan at various temperatures. The dynamical behavior of the immediate environments around the probe acrylodan in the cleft has been compared with a model biomimetic cavity of a reverse micelle (w0 = 5). Using same fluorescent probe of acrylodan, we have checked the structural integrity of the model cavity at various temperatures using picosecond-resolved FRET from Trp to acrylodan in the cavity. We have also estimated possible distribution of donor-acceptor distances in the protein and reverse micelles. Our studies reveal that the energetics of the water molecules in the biological cleft is comparable to that in the model cavity indicating a transition from bound state to quasibound state, closely consistent with a recent MD simulation study.

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