Side chain packing of the N- and C-terminal helices plays a critical role in the kinetics of cytochrome c folding.


The pairing of two alpha-helices at opposite ends of the chain is a highly conserved structural motif found throughout the cytochrome c family of proteins. It has previously been shown that association of the N- and C-terminal helices is a critical early event in the folding process of horse cytochrome c and is responsible for the formation of a partially folded intermediate (INC). In order to gain further insight into the structural and energetic basis of helix packing interactions and their role in folding, we prepared a series of horse cytochrome c variants in which Leu94, a critical residue at the helix contact site, was replaced by Ile, Val, or Ala. The Ile and Val substitutions resulted in minor changes in the stability of the native state, indicating that conservative mutations can be accommodated at the helix interface with only minor structural perturbations. In contrast, the L94A mutation resulted in a 3.5 kcal/mol decrease in unfolding free energy, suggesting that the smaller Ala side chain causes severe packing defects at the helix interface. The effect of these mutations on the kinetics of folding and unfolding as a function of denaturant concentration was studied by a systematic series of stopped-flow fluorescence measurements. The proteins with Leu, Ile, or Val at position 94 exhibit a major unresolved fluorescence change during the 1-ms dead time of the stopped-flow refolding measurements, while this effect is less pronounced in L94A, indicating that the rapid formation of a compact state (IC) with largely quenched Trp59 fluorescence is favored by a large hydrophobic side chain at the helix-helix interface. Despite their small effects on overall stability, the L94I and L94V mutations result in a substantial reduction in the relative amplitude of the fastest observable folding phase (formation of INC) consistent with a strong decrease in the population of INC compared to the wild-type protein. This effect is amplified in the case of the destabilizing L94A variant, which exhibits slower folding kinetics and negligible accumulation of INC. Whereas the presence of a large hydrophobic side chain at position 94 is sufficient for the stabilization of IC, the subsequent partially folded intermediate, INC, is stabilized by specific interactions that are responsible for the proper packing of the two alpha-helices. Study holds ProTherm entries: 5024, 5025, 5026, 5027 Extra Details:

Submission Details

ID: xRjWzi7N4

Submitter: Connie Wang

Submission Date: April 24, 2018, 8:28 p.m.

Version: 1

Publication Details
Colón W;Elöve GA;Wakem LP;Sherman F;Roder H,Biochemistry (1996) Side chain packing of the N- and C-terminal helices plays a critical role in the kinetics of cytochrome c folding. PMID:8611545
Additional Information

Structure view and single mutant data analysis

Study data

No weblogo for data of varying length.
Colors: D E R H K S T N Q A V I L M F Y W C G P

Data Distribution

Studies with similar sequences (approximate matches)

Correlation with other assays (exact sequence matches)

Relevant UniProtKB Entries

Percent Identity Matching Chains Protein Accession Entry Name
100.0 Cytochrome c P00004 CYC_HORSE
99.0 Cytochrome c P68097 CYC_EQUAS
99.0 Cytochrome c P68096 CYC_EQUBU
97.1 Cytochrome c P62894 CYC_BOVIN
97.1 Cytochrome c P62895 CYC_PIG
97.1 Cytochrome c P62896 CYC_SHEEP
94.3 Cytochrome c P00007 CYC_HIPAM
95.2 Cytochrome c P68099 CYC_CAMDR
95.2 Cytochrome c P68100 CYC_ESCRO
95.2 Cytochrome c P68098 CYC_LAMGU
94.3 Cytochrome c P62897 CYC_MOUSE
94.3 Cytochrome c P00008 CYC_RABIT
94.3 Cytochrome c P62898 CYC_RAT
94.3 Cytochrome c P00011 CYC_CANLF
93.3 Cytochrome c P00014 CYC_MACGI
93.3 Cytochrome c P00013 CYC_MINSC
93.3 Cytochrome c Q52V09 CYC_CEPBA
93.3 Cytochrome c P00012 CYC_MIRLE
90.5 Cytochrome c Q52V10 CYC_SAISC
92.3 Cytochrome c P81280 CYC_ALLMI
92.2 Cytochrome c P00020 CYC_ANAPL
91.3 Cytochrome c P00021 CYC_COLLI
90.3 Cytochrome c B4USV4 CYC_OTOGA