Role of quaternary structure in the stability of dimeric proteins: the case of ascorbate oxidase.


Equilibrium denaturation experiments have been performed in order to study the dissociation into monomers and unfolding of the dimeric copper-containing enzyme ascorbate oxidase by urea and guanidine hydrochloride. The process has been followed by fluorescence intensity and anisotropy, by optical density, and by circular dichroism as a function of denaturant concentration. The noncoincidence of the unfolding curves obtained by different techniques suggests that a multiphasic process is occurring. The study of enzymatic activity and aromatic circular dichroism as a function of denaturant concentration shows that the first transition involves a change in the protein tertiary structure which is accompanied by the loss of biological function. Gel electrophoresis, ultracentrifugation, and protein dilution experiments demonstrate that a large fraction of protein molecules is still dimeric during this first transition with a stability which is strictly dependent on the denaturant used. The free energy change from the native form to this intermediate species was estimated to be approximately 3.5 kcal/mol. The binding of 1-anilino-8-naphthalenesulfonic acid to the partially unfolded, inactive ascorbate oxidase dimer also suggests a large conformational change accompanied by copper release, allowing the probe to penetrate deep inside the protein structure. Further denaturation to give a fully unfolded form is protein concentration dependent, suggesting that dissociation into monomers is occurring. The monomers appear to be very unstable. No evidence for structured intermediates was in fact detected in the last step of the denaturation process. A three-state model has been used to fit the fluorescence data, and the fractions of different species have been calculated as a function of denaturant concentration. The total free energy change of the unfolding transition using either urea or guanidine hydrochloride is rather small ( approximately 15-16 kcal/mol) and quite comparable to the value found for smaller proteins. The loss of secondary structure which occurs in the second part of the unfolding transition may be described by a simple two-state process which is characterized by a free energy change of 12-13 kcal/mol. These results suggest that the folding process of ascorbate oxidase follows a hierarchical model (Jaenicke, 1991). In this context, the assembly of monomers in a dimeric molecule plays a fundamental role by enhancing the protein stability and driving the final organization of the tertiary structure. Study holds ProTherm entries: 8817, 8818 Extra Details: copper-containing enzyme; enzymatic activity; free energy change,of the unfolding; hierarchical model; tertiary structure

Submission Details

ID: NDvQvbbH3

Submitter: Connie Wang

Submission Date: April 24, 2018, 8:37 p.m.

Version: 1

Publication Details
Mei G;Di Venere A;Buganza M;Vecchini P;Rosato N;Finazzi-Agro' A,Biochemistry (1997) Role of quaternary structure in the stability of dimeric proteins: the case of ascorbate oxidase. PMID:9283082
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