[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Troponin C (TnC), the Ca(2+)-binding component of the troponin complex of vertebrate skeletal muscle, consists of two structurally homologous domains, the N- and C-domains; these domains are connected by an exposed α-helix. Mutants of full-length TnC and of its isolated domains have been constructed using site-directed mutagenesis to replace different Phe residues with Trp. Previous studies utilizing these mutants and high hydrostatic pressure have shown that the C-domain apo form is less stable than the N-domain and that the N-domain has no effect on the stability of the C-domain [Rocha, C. B., Suarez, M. C., Yu, A., Ballard, L., Sorenson, M. M., Foguel, D., Silva, J. L. (2008) Biochemistry 47, 5047-5058]. Here, we analyzed the stability of full-length F29W TnC using structural approaches and under conditions of added urea and hydrostatic pressure denaturation; F29W TnC is a fluorescent mutant, in which Phe 29, located in the N-domain, was replaced with Trp. From these experiments, we calculated the thermodynamic parameters (ΔV and ΔGºatm) that govern the folding of the intact F29W TnC in the presence or absence of Ca(2+). We found that the C-domain has only a small effect on the structure of the N-domain in the absence of Ca(2+). However, using fluorescence spectroscopy, we demonstrated a significant decrease in the stability of the N-domain in the Ca(2+)-bound state (i.e., when Ca(2+) was bound to sites III and IV of the C-domain). An accompanying decrease in the thermodynamic stability of the N-domain generated a reduction of ΔΔGºatm in absolute terms, and Ca(2+) binding affects the Ca(2+) affinity of the N-domain in the full-length TnC. Cross-talk between the C- and N-domains may be mediated by the central helix, which has a smaller volume and likely greater rigidity and stability following Ca(2+)-binding to the EF-hand sites, as determined by our construction of low-resolution 3D models from the SAXS data.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Sup35 protein of Saccharomyces cerevisiae forms a prion that generates the [PSI(+)] phenotype. Its NM region governs prion status, forming self-seeding amyloid fibers in vivo and in vitro. A tryptophan mutant of Sup35 (NM(F117W)) was used to probe its aggregation. Four indicators of aggregation, Trp 117 maximum emission, Trp polarization, thio-T binding, and light scattering increase, revealed faster aggregation at 4 degrees C than at 25 degrees C, and all indicators changed in a concerted fashion at the former temperature. Curiously, at 25 degrees C the changes were not synchronized; the first two indicators, which reflect nucleation, changed more quickly than the last two, which reflect fibril formation. These results suggest that nucleation is insensitive to temperature, whereas fibril extension is temperature dependent. As expected, aggregation is accelerated when a small fraction (5%) of the nuclei produced at 4 or 25 degrees C are added to a suspension containing the soluble NM domain, although these nuclei do not seem to propagate any structural information to the growing fibrils. Fibrils grown at 4 degrees C were less stable in GdmCl than those grown at higher temperature. However, they were both resistant to high pressure; in fact, both sets of fibrils responded to high pressure by adopting an altered conformation with a higher capacity for thio-T binding. From these data, we calculated the change in volume and free energy associated with this conformational change. AFM revealed that the fibrils grown at 4 degrees C were statistically smaller than those grown at 25 degrees C. In conclusion, the introduction of Trp 117 allowed us to more carefully dissect the effects of temperature on the aggregation of the Sup35 NM domain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Troponin is the singular Ca(2+)-sensitive protein in the contraction of vertebrate striated muscles. Troponin C (TnC), the Ca(2+)-binding subunit of the troponin complex, has two distinct domains, C and N, which have different properties despite their extensive structural homology. In this work, we analyzed the thermodynamic stability of the isolated N-domain of TnC using a fluorescent mutant with Phe 29 replaced by Trp (F29W/N-domain, residues 1-90). The complete unfolding of the N-domain of TnC in the absence or presence of Ca(2+) was achieved by combining high hydrostatic pressure and urea, a maneuver that allowed us to calculate the thermodynamic parameters (DeltaV and DeltaG(atm)). In this study, we propose that part of the affinity for Ca(2+) is contributed by the free-energy change of folding of the N- and C-domains that takes place when Ca(2+) binds. The importance of the free-energy change for the structural and regulatory functions of the TnC isolated domains was evaluated. Our results shed light on how the coupling between folding and ion binding contributes to the fine adjustment of the affinity for Ca(2+) in EF-hand proteins, which is crucial to function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Troponin C (TnC) is an 18-kDa acidic protein of the EF-hand family that serves as the trigger for muscle contraction. In this study, we investigated the thermodynamic stability of the C-domain of TnC in all its occupancy states (apo, Mg (2+)-, and Ca (2+)-bound states) using a fluorescent mutant with Phe 105 replaced by Trp (F105W/C-domain, residues 88-162) and (1)H NMR spectroscopy. High hydrostatic pressure was employed as a perturbing agent, in combination with urea or without it. On the basis of changes in Trp emission, the C-domain apo state was denatured by pressure (in the range of 1-1000 bar) in the absence of urea. The fluorescence data were corroborated by following the changes in the (1)H NMR signal of Histidine 128. Addition of Ca (2+) or Mg (2+) increased the C-domain stability so that complete denaturation was attained only by the combined use of high hydrostatic pressure and either 7-8 M or 1.5-2 M urea, respectively. The (1)H NMR spectra in the presence of Ca (2+) was typical of a highly structured protein and allowed us to follow the changes in the local environment of several amino-acid residues as a function of pressure at 4 M Urea. Different residues presented different volume changes, but those that are in the hydrophobic core portrayed values very similar to that obtained for tryptophan 105 as measured by fluorescence, indicating that it is indeed a good probe for the overall tertiary structure. From these experiments, we calculated the thermodynamic parameters (Delta G degrees atm and Delta V) that govern the folding of the C-domain in all its possible physiological states and constructed a thermodynamic cycle. Furthermore, a comparison of the volume and free-energy changes of folding of isolated C-domain with those of intact TnC (F105W) revealed that the N-domain has little effect on the structure of the C-domain, even in the presence of Ca (2+). The volume and free-energy diagrams reveal a landscape of different conformations from the less structured, denatured apo form to the highly structured, Ca (2+)-bound form. The large change in folding free energy of the C-domain that takes place when Ca (2+) binds may explain the much higher Ca (2+) affinity of sites III and IV, 2 orders of magnitude higher than the affinity of sites I and II.