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Spectrophotometric studies on alkaline isomerization of spinach ferredoxin






Journal of Biochemistry 98(4): 981-990

Spectrophotometric studies on alkaline isomerization of spinach ferredoxin

The gross protein structure, the microenvironment of the iron-sulfur cluster, and the effect of neutral salts on the molecular structure of spinach ferredoxin were studied by CD and absorption spectroscopy in the alkaline pH range. In the pH range of 7-11, the existence of reversible isomerization which consisted of at least two proton dissociation processes was indicated by the statistical CD and absorption spectra. The CD changes in the visible and far-UV regions were dramatic upon elevation of the pH from neutral to alkaline, indicating a significant alteration of the microenvironment of the cluster and a decrease in the ordered secondary structures. The absorption change in the visible region due to pH elevation was small but clearly observed with a high signal-to-noise ratio. The numbers of protons involved in the respective processes and the apparent pK values obtained from the pH-dependence of the CD changes were in good agreement with those obtained from the pH-dependence of the absorption changes in the visible region. In addition, the rate constants from the time courses of the CD and absorption changes agreed with one another. By the addition of 1 M NaCl, the CD and absorption spectra at alkaline pH were reversed almost to those at neutral pH without significant pH change. On the other hand, above pH 11, ferredoxin was found to be irreversibly denatured. Based on analyses of the statistical CD and absorption spectra and of the time courses of the CD changes, the probable mechanism of the isomerization was considered to be as follows: NH3 .**GRAPHIC**. NH2 .**GRAPHIC**. N*H2 .**GRAPHIC**. where H stands for a proton, N-form for native ferredoxin at neutral pH, N*-form for alkaline ferredoxin below pH 11 which still has the iron-sulfur cluster but with disordered secondary structures of the polypeptide chain, and D-form for completely denatured ferredoxin above pH 11. These results lead to the conclusions that (1) the interaction between the protein moiety and the iron-sulfur cluster is essential for maintaining the native ferredoxin structure, and (2) neutral salts protect the polypeptide chain from unfolding through electrostatic interaction with the ionized side chains, resulting in the stabilization of ferredoxin.


Accession: 006460757

PMID: 4077848



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