Local and long-range interactions in the thermal unfolding transition of bovine pancreatic ribonuclease A.


This research was undertaken to distinguish between local and global unfolding in the reversible thermal denaturation of bovine pancreatic ribonclease A (RNase A). Local unfolding was monitored by steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence of nine mutants in each of which a single tryptophan was substituted for a wild-type residue. Global unfolding was monitored by far-UV circular dichroism and UV absorbance. All the mutants (except F8W and D38W) exhibited high specific enzymatic activity, and their far-UV CD spectra were very close to that of wild-type RNase A, indicating that the tryptophan substitutions did not affect the structure of any of the mutants (excluding K1W and Y92W) under folding conditions at 20 degrees C. Like wild-type RNase A, the various mutants exhibited reversible cooperative thermal unfolding transitions at pH 5, with transition temperatures 2.5-11 degrees C lower than that of the wild-type transition, as detected by far-UV CD or UV absorbance. Even at 80 degrees C, well above the cooperative transition of all the RNase A mutants, a considerable amount of secondary and tertiary structure was maintained. These studies suggest the following two-stage mechanism for the thermal unfolding transition of RNase A as the temperature is increased. First, at temperatures lower than those of the main cooperative transition, long-range interactions within the major hydrophobic core are weakened, e.g., those involving residues Phe-8 (in the N-terminal helix) and Lys-104 and Tyr-115 (in the C-terminal beta-hairpin motif). The structure of the chain-reversal loop (residues 91-95) relaxes in the same temperature range. Second, the subsequent higher-temperature cooperative unfolding transition is associated with a loss of secondary structure and additional changes in the tertiary contacts of the major hydrophobic core, e.g., those involving residues Tyr-73, Tyr-76, and Asp-38 on the other side of the molecule. The hydrophobic interactions of the C-terminal loop of the protein are enhanced by high temperature, and perhaps are responsible for the preservation of the local structural environment of Trp-124 at temperatures slightly above the major cooperative transition. The results shed new light on the thermal unfolding transitions, generally supporting the thermal unfolding hypothesis of Burgess and Scheraga, as modified by Matheson and Scheraga. Study holds ProTherm entries: 10338, 10339, 10340, 10341, 10342, 10343, 10344, 10345, 10346, 10347, 10348, 10349, 10350, 10351, 10352, 10353, 10354, 10355, 10356, 10357, 10358, 10359, 10360, 10361, 10362, 10363, 10364, 10365 Extra Details: local unfolding; enzymatic activity; tertiary structure;,hydrophobic core; beta-hairpin motif

Submission Details


Submitter: Connie Wang

Submission Date: April 24, 2018, 8:40 p.m.

Version: 1

Publication Details
Navon A;Ittah V;Laity JH;Scheraga HA;Haas E;Gussakovsky EE,Biochemistry (2001) Local and long-range interactions in the thermal unfolding transition of bovine pancreatic ribonuclease A. PMID:11141060
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