Section 8
Chapter 7,004

Amino acid replacements can selectively affect the interaction energy of autonomous folding units in the alpha subunit of tryptophan synthase

Chen, X.; Rambo, R.; Matthews, C.R.

Biochemistry 31(8): 2219-2223


ISSN/ISBN: 0006-2960
PMID: 1540577
DOI: 10.1021/bi00123a002
Accession: 007003257

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Amino acid replacements were made at the interface between two autonomous folding units in the .alpha. subunit of tryptophan synthase from Salmonella typhimurium to test their mutual interaction energy. The results of equilibrium studies of the urea-induced unfolding reaction of the wild-type and mutant proteins in which phenylalanine 22 is replaced by leucine, isoleucine, and valine can be understood in terms of a selective decrease in the interaction energy between the two folding units; the intrinsic stability of each folding unit is not significantly altered. Kinetic studies of the rate-limiting step in unfolding show that the interaction energy appears in the transition state preceding the native conformation. Comparisons of the individual effects of these nonpolar side chains show that both hydrophobic and steric effects play important roles in the interaction energy between the folding units. The implication of these results is that the high cooperativity observed in the folding of many globular proteins may be reduced by appropriate amino acid replacements.

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