The folding, stability and conformational dynamics of beta-barrel fluorescent proteins.
ABSTRACT This critical review describes our current knowledge on the folding, stability and conformational dynamics of fluorescent proteins (FPs). The biophysical studies that have led to the elucidation of many of the key features of the complex energy landscape for folding for GFP and its variants are discussed. These illustrate some important issues surrounding how the large beta-barrel structure forms, and will be of interest to the protein folding community. In addition, the review highlights the importance of some of these results for the use of FPs in in vivo applications. The results should facilitate and aid in experimental designs of in vivo applications, as well as the interpretation of in vivo experimental data. The review is therefore of interest to all those working with FPs in vivo (103 references).
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ABSTRACT: Having a high folding efficiency and a low tendency to aggregate, the superfolder GFP (sfGFP) offers a unique opportunity to study the folding of proteins that have a β-barrel topology. Here, we studied the unfolding-refolding of sfGFP that was induced by guanidine thiocyanate (GTC), which is a stronger denaturing agent than GdnHCl or urea. Structural perturbations of sfGFP were studied by spectroscopic methods (absorbance, fluorescence, and circular dichroism), by acrylamide quenching of tryptophan and green chromophore fluorescence, and by size-exclusion chromatography. Low concentrations of GTC (up to 0.1 M) induce subtle changes in the sfGFP structure. The pronounced changes in the visible absorption spectrum of sfGFP which are accompanied by a dramatic decrease in tryptophan and green chromophore fluorescence was recorded in the range 0-0.7 M GNC. These alterations of sfGFP characteristics that erroneously can be mixed up with appearance of intermediate state in fact have pure spectroscopic but not structural nature. Higher concentrations of GTC (from 0.7 to 1.7 M), induce a disruption of the sfGFP structure, that is manifested in simultaneous changes of all of the detected parameters. Full recovery of native properties of denaturated sfGFP was observed after denaturant removal. The refolding of sfGFP passes through the accumulation of the off-pathway intermediate state, in which inner alpha-helix and hence green chromophore and Trp57 are still not tuned up to (properly integrated into) the already formed β-barrel scaffold of protein. Incorporation of the chromophore in the β-barrel in the pathway of refolding and restoration of its ability to fluoresce occur in a narrow range of GTC concentrations from 1.0 to 0.7 M, and a correct insertion of Trp 57 occurs at concentrations ranging from 0.7 to 0 M GTC. These two processes determine the hysteresis of protein unfolding and refolding.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(11):e48809. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: A desolvation model for trifluoroethanol-induced aggregation of enhanced green fluorescent protein.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Studies of amyloid disease-associated proteins in aqueous solutions containing 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol (TFE) have shown that the formation of structural intermediates is often correlated with enhanced protein aggregation. Here, enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) is used as a model protein system to investigate the causal relationship between TFE-induced structural transitions and aggregation. Using circular dichroism spectroscopy, light scattering measurements, and transmission electron microscopy imaging, we demonstrate that population of a partially α-helical, monomeric intermediate is roughly correlated with the growth of β-sheet-rich, flexible fibrils for acid-denatured EGFP. By fitting our circular dichroism data to a model in which TFE-water mixtures are assumed to be ideal solutions, we show that increasing entropic costs of protein solvation in TFE-water mixtures may both cause the population of the intermediate state and increase aggregate production. Tertiary structure and electrostatic repulsion also impede aggregation. We conclude that initiation of EGFP aggregation in TFE likely involves overcoming of multiple protective factors, rather than stabilization of aggregation-prone structural elements.Biophysical Journal 02/2012; 102(4):897-906. · 3.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We investigate changes in human c-type lysozyme flexibility upon mutation via a Distance Constraint Model, which gives a statistical mechanical treatment of network rigidity. Specifically, two dynamical metrics are tracked. Changes in flexibility index quantify differences within backbone flexibility, whereas changes in the cooperativity correlation quantify differences within pairwise mechanical couplings. Regardless of metric, the same general conclusions are drawn. That is, small structural perturbations introduced by single point mutations have a frequent and pronounced affect on lysozyme flexibility that can extend over long distances. Specifically, an appreciable change occurs in backbone flexibility for 48% of the residues, and a change in cooperativity occurs in 42% of residue pairs. The average distance from mutation to a site with a change in flexibility is 17-20 Å. Interestingly, the frequency and scale of the changes within single point mutant structures are generally larger than those observed in the hen egg white lysozyme (HEWL) ortholog, which shares 61% sequence identity with human lysozyme. For example, point mutations often lead to substantial flexibility increases within the β-subdomain, which is consistent with experimental results indicating that it is the nucleation site for amyloid formation. However, β-subdomain flexibility within the human and HEWL orthologs is more similar despite the lowered sequence identity. These results suggest compensating mutations in HEWL reestablish desired properties.PLoS Computational Biology 03/2012; 8(3):e1002409. · 5.22 Impact Factor