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Biochemistry

Estimation of helix-helix association free energy from partial unfolding of bacterioopsin.


PMID 14717611

Abstract

To obtain thermodynamic information about interactions between transmembrane helices in integral membrane proteins, partial unfolding of bacterioopsin in ethanol/water mixtures was studied by Förster-type resonance energy transfer (FRET) from tryptophan to a dansyl group on Lys 41. Tryptophan to dansyl FRET was detected by measuring sensitized emission at 490-500 nm from 285 nm excitation. FRET was observed in dansylbacterioopsin in apomembranes and in detergent micelles but not in 90% ethanol/water or in the chymotrypsin fragment C2 (residues 1-71). The main fluorescence donors are Trp 86 and Trp 182. Increase of FRET from C2 with added chymotrypsin fragment C1 (residues 72-248) provides an estimate of the C1-C2 association constant as 7.7 x 10(6) M(-1). With increasing ethanol concentration, the FRET signal from dansylbacterioopsin in detergent micelles disappeared with a sharp transition above 60% ethanol. No transition occurred in Trp fluorescence from bacterioopsin lacking the dansyl acceptor, nor did dansyl model compounds undergo a similar transition. Light scattering measurements show that the detergent micelles dissipate below 50% ethanol. Thus the observed transition is likely to be a partial unfolding of bacterioopsin. Assuming a two-state unfolding model, the free energy of unfolding was obtained by extrapolation as 9.0 kcal/mol. The slope of the transition (m-value) was -0.8 kcal mol(-1) M(-1). The unfolding process probably involves dissociation of several helices. The rate of association was measured by stopped-flow fluorometry. Two first-order kinetic processes were observed, having approximately equal weights, with rate constants of 2.32 s (-1) and 0.185 s(-1).