Archives of biochemistry and biophysics

Detection and analysis of protofibrils and fibrils of hemoglobin: implications for the pathogenesis and cure of heme loss related maladies.

PMID 23500139


TFE induces structural alterations of proteins similar to the lipid environment of biological membranes, implicating these studies worthy of analyzing protein conformation in membranes such as red blood cells (RBCs). Heme loss occurs on rupturing of RBCs as found in diseases namely haemophilia, haemolytic anaemia, diabetes mellitus. TFE can be implied in discovering therapeutic targets, as it mimics the biological membrane environment. A global transition of hemoglobin (Hb) in presence of TFE was studied by using multi-methodological approach. The presence of partially folded state of Hb at 15% v/v TFE was confirmed by altered tryptophan environment, and retention of native-like secondary and tertiary structure. Molten globule state was observed at 20% v/v TFE as detected by increase tryptophan and high ANS fluorescence, slight alterations in Soret band relative to native. TFE on increasing concentration induced protofibrils at 25% v/v and fibrils at 45% v/v as depicted by altered tryptophan environment, heme loss, increase in non-native β-sheet secondary and tertiary structure, large hydrodynamic radii of heme-protein, high ANS, thioflavin T fluorescence and shift in Congo Red absorbance. Comet assay showed that protofibrils are cytotoxic to lymphocytes. SEM and XRD confirmed these aggregates to be fibrillar in nature.