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Eur J Biochem. 1991 Dec 18;202(3):903-11.

Characterization of SH groups in porin of bovine heart mitochondria. Porin cysteines are localized in the channel walls.

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Department of Pharmaco-Biology, University of Bari, Italia.


Porin from bovine heart mitochondria contains probably two cysteines (Cys126 and Cys230 in human porin, Kayser, H., Kratzin, H. D., Thinnes, F. P., Götz, H., Schmidt, W. E., Eckart, K. & Hilschmann, N. (1989) Biol. Chem. Hoppe-Seyler 370, 1265-1278). Reduced and oxidized forms of these cysteines were investigated in purified protein and in intact mitochondria using the agents dithioerythritol, cuprous(II) phenantroline, diamide and performic acid. Furthermore, intact mitochondria were labelled with the sulfhydryl-alkylating agents N-[14C]ethylmaleimide, eosin-5-maleimide and N-(1-pyrenyl)-maleimide. Affinity chromatography of bovine heart porin was performed with cysteine-specific material. The results can be summarized as follows: (1) Porin has one reduced and two oxidized forms of apparent molecular masses between 30 and 35 kDa. The native form of porin is the reduced 33 kDa form. The oxidized forms only appear after denaturation with SDS. (2) The 35-kDa reduced and the 33.5-kDa oxidized forms of porin show the same pore-forming properties after reconstitution of the protein into lipid bilayer membranes. (3) Labelling of cysteines by eosin-5-maleimide and N-(1-pyrenyl)-maleimide suggested their location at a boundary between the water-phase and the lipid-phase. Incubation of intact mitochondria with N-ethylmaleimide prior to eosin-5-maleimide and N-(1-pyrenyl)maleimide treatment resulted in the inhibition of the fluorescent labelling. Among the cysteines present in the primary structure, Cys126 is the most sensitive to N-ethylmaleimide binding. (4) Bovine heart mitochondrial porin covalently bound to Affi-Gel 501 (with a 1.75 nm long spacer), but not to Thiopropyl-Sepharose 6B (with a 0.51 nm spacer). This suggests that at least one of the cysteines is localized between 0.51 nm and 1.75 nm deep in the protein micelle.

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