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Biochemistry. 1996 Mar 26;35(12):3857-64.

High-pressure denaturation of staphylococcal nuclease proline-to-glycine substitution mutants.

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1
School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.

Abstract

Our recently reported pressure-jump relaxation kinetics experiments on staphylococcal nuclease folding and unfolding [Vidugiris et al. (1995) Biochemistry 34, 4909] demonstrated that both transitions exhibit positive activation volumes, with that of folding being much larger than that of unfolding. Thus high pressure denatures proteins by slowing the rate of folding more than that of unfolding. In the present work, we take advantage of the very slow folding and unfolding rates under pressure to examine the kinetics and volume changes along the reaction coordinate for protein folding-unfolding for an interesting set of mutants of staphylococcal nuclease: P42G, P47G, P117G, and the double mutant, P47G+P117G. Previous studies have shown that replacement of an individual proline residue at position 42, 47, or 117 by glycine leads to paradoxical protein stabilization against denaturation by guanidine chloride, high temperature, or high pressure. In order to observe unfolding over an attainable pressure range, guanidine hydrochloride was employed. Within experimental error, the activation volumes and equilibrium volume changes were independent of the concentration of this denaturant and our analysis of the rate constants is consistent with the generally accepted hypothesis that this denaturant acts both by increasing the rate of unfolding and decreasing the rate of folding. We show that the stabilization resulting from each of the proline-to-glycine substitutions arises primarily from a decrease in the unfolding rate, and to a small degree, from an increase in the folding rate. The changes in rate constants upon proline-to-glycine substitution can be modeled in terms of small stabilization of the unfolded state, a greater stabilization of the transition state, and a still greater stabilization of the folded state. Although the rates were found to change for all of the mutants in the set, no changes greater than experimental error were found in the corresponding equilibrium volume changes and activation volumes for folding and unfolding. At low pressures (well below the onset of unfolding) the pressure-jump relaxation profiles for wild type proteins (both Foggi and V8) showed kinetic complexity. Although the effect was attenuated somewhat in pressure-jump profiles of one proline-to-glycine mutant (P42G), its persistence in data from all the mutants studied leads us to conclude that its origin is not cis/trans peptide bond isomerization at proline 117, 47, or 42.

PMID:
8620010
DOI:
10.1021/bi952012g
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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