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Eur J Biochem. 1998 Jul 1;255(1):178-84.

Alkaline unfolding and salt-induced folding of bovine liver catalase at high pH.

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Division of Membrane Biology, Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, India.


We have studied the alkaline unfolding of bovine liver catalase and its dependence on ionic strength by enzymic activity measurements and a combination of optical methods like circular dichroism, fluorescence and absorption spectroscopies. Under conditions of high pH (11.5) and low ionic strength, the native tetrameric enzyme dissociates into monomers with complete loss of enzymic activity and a significant loss of alpha-helical content. Increase in ionic strength by addition of salts like potassium chloride and sodium sulphate resulted in folding of alkaline-unfolded enzyme by association of monomers to tetramer but with significantly different structural properties compared to native enzyme. The salt-induced tetrameric intermediate is characterized by a significant exposure of the buried hydrophobic clusters and significantly reduced alpha-helical content compared to the native enzyme. The refolding/reconstitution studies showed that the salt-induced partially folded tetrameric intermediate shows significantly higher efficiency of refolding/reconstitution as compared to alkaline-denatured catalase in the absence of salts. These studies suggest that folding of multimeric enzymes proceeds probably through the hydrophobic collapse of partially folded multimeric intermediate with exposed hydrophobic clusters.

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