N C Price

University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, SCT, United Kingdom

Are you N C Price?

Claim your profile

Publications (159)523.1 Total impact

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) binds the steroid hormones aldosterone and cortisol and has an important physiological role in the control of salt homeostasis. Regions of the protein important for gene regulation have been mapped to the amino-terminal domain (NTD) and termed activation function (AF)1a, AF1b, and middle domain (MD). In the present study, we used a combination of biophysical and biochemical techniques to investigate the folding and function of the MR-NTD transactivation functions. We demonstrate that MR-AF1a and MR-MD have relatively little stable secondary structure but have the propensity to form α-helical conformation. Induced folding of the MR-MD enhanced protein-protein binding with a number of coregulatory proteins, including the coactivator cAMP response element-binding protein-binding protein and the corepressors SMRT and RIP140. By contrast, the MR-AF1b domain appeared to have a more stable conformation consisting predominantly of β-secondary structure. Furthermore, MR-AF1b specifically interacted with the TATA-binding protein, via an LxxLL-like motif, in the absence of induced folding. Together, these data suggest that the MR-NTD contains a complex transactivation system made up of distinct structural and functional domains. The results are discussed in the context of the induced folding paradigm for steroid receptor NTDs.
    Molecular Endocrinology 10/2010; 24(10):1935-48. · 4.75 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Caged versions of the most common mitochondrial uncouplers (proton translocators) have been prepared that sense the reactive oxygen species (ROS) hydrogen peroxide to release the uncouplers 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) and carbonylcyanide p-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone (FCCP) from caged states with second order rate constants of 10 (+/-0.8) M(-1) s(-1) and 64.8 (+/-0.6) M(-1) s(-1), respectively. The trigger mechanism involves conversion of an arylboronate into a phenol followed by fragmentation. Hydrogen peroxide-activated uncouplers may be useful for studying the biological process of ageing.
    Tetrahedron 03/2010; 66(13):2384-2389. · 2.80 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Sharon M Kelly, Nicholas C Price
    12/2009; , ISBN: 9780470015902
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Experimental data show that the effect of temperature on enzymes cannot be adequately explained in terms of a two-state model based on increases in activity and denaturation. The Equilibrium Model provides a quantitative explanation of enzyme thermal behaviour under reaction conditions by introducing an inactive (but not denatured) intermediate in rapid equilibrium with the active form. The temperature midpoint (Teq) of the rapid equilibration between the two forms is related to the growth temperature of the organism, and the enthalpy of the equilibrium (DeltaHeq) to its ability to function over various temperature ranges. In the present study, we show that the difference between the active and inactive forms is at the enzyme active site. The results reveal an apparently universal mechanism, independent of enzyme reaction or structure, based at or near the active site, by which enzymes lose activity as temperature rises, as opposed to denaturation which is global. Results show that activity losses below Teq may lead to significant errors in the determination of DeltaG*cat made on the basis of the two-state ('Classical') model, and the measured kcat will then not be a true indication of an enzyme's catalytic power. Overall, the results provide a molecular rationale for observations that the active site tends to be more flexible than the enzyme as a whole, and that activity losses precede denaturation, and provide a general explanation in molecular terms for the effect of temperature on enzyme activity.
    Biochemical Journal 10/2009; 425(2):353-60. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In order to increase understanding of the basis of the stability of the native conformational state of porcine pepsin A, a strategy based on induction and monitoring of protein denaturation was developed. Structural perturbation was achieved by adding acetonitrile (MeCN) to the protein-solvent system. MeCN was found to induce non-coincident disruption of the secondary and tertiary structural features of pepsin A. It is proposed that gross unfolding is prompted by disruption of the protein hydration pattern induced by the organic co-solvent. It should be noted that the functional properties and thermal stability of the protein were already impaired before the onset of global unfolding. Low and intermediate contents of MeCN in the protein-solvent system affected the sharpness of the thermal transition and the degree of residual structure of the heat-denatured state. The importance of hydration to the conformational stability of pepsin A in its biologically active state is discussed.
    International journal of biological macromolecules 06/2009; 45(3):213-20. · 2.37 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We report the development of biophysical techniques based on circular dichroism (CD), diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform (DRIFT) and tryptophan (Trp) fluorescence to investigate in situ the structure of enzymes immobilised on solid particles. Their applicability is demonstrated using subtilisin Carlsberg (SC) immobilised on silica gel and Candida antartica lipase B immobilised on Lewatit VP.OC 1600 (Novozyme 435). SC shows nearly identical secondary structure in solution and in the immobilised state as evident from far UV CD spectra and amide I vibration bands. Increased near UV CD intensity and reduced Trp fluorescence suggest a more rigid tertiary structure on the silica surface. After immobilised SC is inactivated, these techniques reveal: a) almost complete loss of near UV CD signal, suggesting loss of tertiary structure; b) a shift in the amide I vibrational band from 1658 cm(-1) to 1632 cm(-1), indicating a shift from alpha-helical structure to beta-sheet; c) a substantial blue shift and reduced dichroism in the far UV CD, supporting a shift to beta-sheet structure; d) strong increase in Trp fluorescence intensity, which reflects reduced intramolecular quenching with loss of tertiary structure; and e) major change in fluorescence lifetime distribution, confirming a substantial change in Trp environment. DRIFT measurements suggest that pressing KBr discs may perturb protein structure. With the enzyme on organic polymer it was possible to obtain near UV CD spectra free of interference by the carrier material. However, far UV CD, DRIFT and fluorescence measurements showed strong signals from the organic support. In conclusion, the spectroscopic methods described here provide structural information hitherto inaccessible, with their applicability limited by interference from, rather than the particulate nature of, the support material.
    ChemPhysChem 05/2009; 10(9-10):1492-9. · 3.35 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A comparison was made of the cytotoxic activity and secondary structural features of four recombinant forms of adenylate cyclase toxin (CyaA). These forms were fully functional CyaA, CyaA lacking adenylate cyclase enzymatic activity (CyaA*), and non-acylated forms of these toxins, proCyaA and proCyaA*. At a toxin concentration>1 microg/ml, CyaA* was as cytotoxic towards J774.2 cells as CyaA and mediated cell killing at a faster rate than CyaA. At concentrations<0.5 microg/ml, CyaA* was less cytotoxic than CyaA and, at <0.1 microg/ml of CyaA*, no activity was detected. CyaA, but not CyaA*, was able to induce caspase 3/7 activity, a measure of apoptosis. ProCyaA and proCyaA* had no detectable cytotoxic or apoptotic activity. CyaA caused 50% inhibition of the zymosan-stimulated oxidative burst at 0.003 microg/ml, whereas a approximately 500-fold greater toxin concentration of CyaA* or proCyaA was needed for 50% inhibition. ProCyaA* was inactive. CyaA is a calcium-binding protein and far UV circular dichroism (CD), near UV CD and fluorescence spectra analyses showed that all the forms of CyaA had similar overall structures at different calcium concentrations up to 5.0 mM. At 7.5 mM CaCl2, the far UV spectrum of CyaA altered significantly, indicating a change in secondary structure associated with high beta-sheet content or a beta-aggregated state, whereas the spectrum of CyaA* showed only a slight alteration at this calcium concentration. Near UV CD and fluorescence studies were consistent with a rearrangement of secondary structural elements in the presence of CaCl2 for all CyaA forms. There was a marked dependence on protein concentration of the far UV spectra of these CyaA forms, implying an interaction between individual molecules at higher protein concentrations.
    Microbial Pathogenesis 11/2008; 46(1):36-42. · 1.97 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Poly-amino acid repeats, especially long stretches of glutamine (Q), are common features of transcription factors and cell-signalling proteins and are prone to expansion, resulting in neurodegenerative diseases. The amino-terminal domain of the androgen receptor (AR-NTD) has a poly-Q repeat between 9 and 36 residues, which when it expands above 40 residues results in spinal bulbar muscular atrophy. We have used spectroscopy and biochemical analysis to investigate the structural consequences of an expanded repeat (Q45) or removal of the repeat (DeltaQ) on the folding of the AR-NTD. Circular dichroism spectroscopy revealed that in aqueous solution, the AR-NTD has a relatively limited amount of stable secondary structure. Expansion of the poly-Q repeat resulted in a modest increase in alpha-helix structure, while deletion of the repeat resulted in a small loss of alpha-helix structure. These effects were more pronounced in the presence of the structure-promoting solvent trifluoroethanol or the natural osmolyte trimethylamine N-oxide. Fluorescence spectroscopy showed that the microenvironments of four tryptophan residues were also altered after the deletion of the Q stretch. Other structural changes were observed for the AR-NTDQ45 polypeptide after limited proteolysis; in addition, this polypeptide not only showed enhanced binding of the hydrophobic probe 8-anilinonaphthalene-1-sulphonic acid but was more sensitive to urea-induced unfolding. Taken together, these findings support the view that the presence and length of the poly-Q repeat modulate the folding and structure of the AR-NTD.
    Journal of Molecular Endocrinology 10/2008; 41(5):301-14. · 3.58 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The enzymatic activity of phenoloxidase is assayed routinely in the presence of SDS. Similar assay conditions elicit phenoloxidase activity in another type 3 copper protein, namely hemocyanin, which normally functions as an oxygen carrier. The nature of the conformational changes induced in type 3 copper proteins by the denaturant SDS is unknown. This comparative study demonstrates that arthropod hemocyanins can be converted from being an oxygen carrier to a form which exhibits phenoloxidase activity by incubation with SDS, with accompanying changes in secondary and tertiary structure. Structural characterisation, using various biophysical methods, suggests that the micellar form of SDS is required to induce optimal conformational transitions in the protein which may result in opening a channel to the di-copper centre allowing bulky phenolic substrates access to the catalytic site.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 12/2007; 1774(11):1380-94. · 4.66 Impact Factor
  • Sharon M Kelly, Nicholas C Price
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Circular dichroism (CD) is a powerful technique for studying the structures of proteins in solution, as well as structural changes that may occur when proteins bind to ligands. Changes in CD signals accompanying complex formation can be used to determine the strength of the interaction and to provide information about the nature and extent of the conformational changes involved. This unit outlines the type of information available from CD studies and describes how such experiments should be carried out to ensure that reliable information is obtained.
    Current protocols in protein science / editorial board, John E. Coligan ... [et al.] 01/2007; Chapter 20:Unit 20.10.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Immobilised enzymes are widely used in industry, but the reasons for loss of activity of such biocatalysts are usually not known. We have used circular dichroism (CD) to investigate the structure of one such system, i.e., subtilisin Carlsberg (SC) immobilised on silica gel particles (60 microm). A number of technical problems have to be overcome in order to obtain appropriate data from which conclusions can be drawn. A rotating cell holder has been developed to avoid sedimentation of the silica particles during the collection of spectra. By moving the cell holder as close as possible to the detector window, the effects of differential scattering can be minimised. However, the effects of absorption flattening limit the extent to which reliable quantitative information on secondary structure content can be obtained from far UV CD studies. We have used an empirical approach based on absorbance units derived from the high-tension voltage to correct for absorption flattening effects. After applying the correction there was satisfactory agreement with the solution spectra. Comparison of the fresh and used (inactive) SC-silica gel spectra in organic media reveals substantial change in the secondary structure. Additional evidence for loss of native conformation is provided by the significant decrease in the near UV CD spectrum. These results for the first time clearly demonstrate the origin of enzyme instability in the immobilised state.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 07/2006; 1764(6):1119-25. · 4.66 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Naomi E Harwood, Nicholas C Price, James M McDonnell
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The interaction of immunoglobulin E (IgE) with its cellular receptor FcepsilonRIalpha is a central regulator of allergy. Structural studies have identified the third domain (Cepsilon3) of the constant region of epsilon heavy chain as the receptor binding region. The isolated Cepsilon3 domain is a "molten globule" that becomes structured upon binding of the FcepsilonRIalpha ligand. In this study, fluorescence and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopies are used to characterise the role of soluble FcepsilonRIalpha in the folding of the monomeric Cepsilon3 domain of IgE. Soluble FcepsilonRIalpha is shown to display characteristic properties of a catalyst for the folding of Cepsilon3, with the rate of Cepsilon3 folding being dependent on the concentration of the receptor.
    FEBS Letters 05/2006; 580(8):2129-34. · 3.58 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The crystal structures of the type II dehydroquinase (DHQase) from Helicobacter pylori in complex with three competitive inhibitors have been determined. The inhibitors are the substrate analogue 2,3-anhydroquinate (FA1), citrate, and an oxoxanthene sulfonamide derivative (AH9095). Despite the very different chemical nature of the inhibitors, in each case the primary point of interaction with the enzyme is via the residues that bind the C1 functionalities of the substrate, 3-dehydroquinate, i.e., N76, H102, I103, and H104. The DHQase/AH9095 complex crystal structure shows that sulfonamides can form a scaffold for nonsubstrate-like inhibitors and identifies a large conserved hydrophobic patch at the entrance to the active site as a locus that can be exploited in the development of new ligands.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 03/2006; 49(4):1282-90. · 5.61 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Encapsulation of proteins in poly(lactide-co-glycolide) microspheres via emulsion is known to cause insoluble protein aggregates. Following protein emulsification and encapsulation in PLGA microspheres, we used circular dichroism to show that the recoverable soluble protein fraction also suffers subtle conformational changes. For a panel of proteins selected on the basis of molecular size and structural class, conformational stability measured by chemical denaturation was not indicative of stability during emulsion-encapsulation. Partial loss of structure was observed for alpha-helical proteins released from freeze-dried microspheres in aqueous buffer, with dramatic loss of structure for a beta-sandwich protein. The addition of sucrose (a lyoprotectant) did not prevent the loss of protein conformation upon encapsulation. Therefore, the conformational changes seen for the released soluble protein fraction originates during emulsification rather than microsphere freeze-drying. Analysis of the burst release for all proteins in buffer containing denaturant or surfactant showed that the degree of protein solubilisation was the dominant factor in determining the initial rate and extent of release. Our data for protein release into increasing concentrations of denaturing buffer suggest that the emulsion-denatured protein fraction remains insoluble; this fraction may represent the protein loss encountered upon comparison of protein encapsulated versus protein released.
    Journal of Controlled Release 01/2006; 110(1):34-48. · 7.63 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Sharon M Kelly, Thomas J Jess, Nicholas C Price
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Circular dichroism (CD) is being increasingly recognised as a valuable technique for examining the structure of proteins in solution. However, the value of many studies using CD is compromised either by inappropriate experimental design or by lack of attention to key aspects of instrument calibration or sample characterisation. In this article, we summarise the basis of the CD approach and its application to the study of proteins, and then present clear guidelines on how reliable data can be obtained and analysed.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 09/2005; 1751(2):119-39. · 4.66 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The interaction between IgE and its high affinity receptor (FcepsilonRI) is a critical step in the development of allergic responses. Detailed characterization of the IgE-FcepsilonRI interaction may offer insights into possible modes of inhibiting the interaction, which could thereby act as a potential therapy for allergy. In this study, NMR, CD, and fluorescence spectroscopies have been used to characterize structurally the Cepsilon3 domain of IgE and its interaction with other protein ligands, namely, Cepsilon2, Cepsilon4, sFcepsilonRIalpha, and CD23. We have shown that the recombinant Cepsilon3 domain exists alone in solution as a "molten globule." On interaction with sFcepsilonRIalpha, Cepsilon3 adopts a folded tertiary structure, as shown by the release of the fluorescent probe 8-anilinonaphthalene-1-sulfonate and by characteristic changes in the (1)H, (15)N heteronuclear single quantum coherence NMR spectrum. However, the interactions between the Cepsilon3 domain and Cepsilon2, Cepsilon4, or CD23 do not induce such folding and would therefore be expected to involve only local interaction surfaces. The conformational flexibility of the Cepsilon3 domain of the whole IgE molecule may play a role in allowing fine tuning of the affinity and specificity of IgE for a variety of different physiological ligands and may be involved in the conformational change of IgE postulated to occur on interaction with FcepsilonRI.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2005; 280(3):2324-30. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is an intracellular receptor protein that regulates gene transcription in response to both man-made and natural ligands. A modular transactivaton domain (TAD) has been mapped to the 304 C-terminal amino acids and consists of acidic, Q-rich, and P/S/T-rich subdomains. We have used steady-state intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence and circular dichroism spectroscopy to investigate the conformation of the acidic Q-rich region. The results reveal that this region of the protein is structurally flexible but adopts a more folded conformation in the presence of the natural osmolyte trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) and the solvent trifluoroethanol (TFE). In protein-protein interaction studies, the acidic Q-rich region bound to components of the general transcription machinery [TATA-binding protein (TBP), TAF4, and TAF6] as well as the coactivator proteins SRC-1a and TIF2. The binding site for TBP mapped to the acidic subdomain, while SRC-1a bound preferentially to the Q-rich sequence. Significantly, the binding of TBP was modulated by induced folding of the TAD with TMAO. The results indicate that the AhR TAD makes multiple interactions with the transcriptional machinery and protein conformation plays a critical role in receptor function. Taken together, these findings support a role for protein folding in AhR action and suggest possible mechanisms of receptor-dependent gene activation.
    Biochemistry 02/2005; 44(2):734-43. · 3.38 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The interaction of nitric oxide with cytochrome P450 BM3 from Bacillus megaterium has been analyzed by spectroscopic techniques and enzyme assays. Nitric oxide ligates tightly to the ferric heme iron, inducing large changes in each of the main visible bands of the heme and inhibiting the fatty acid hydroxylase function of the protein. However, the ferrous adduct is unstable under aerobic conditions, and activity recovers rapidly after addition of NADPH to the flavocytochrome due to reduction of the heme via the reductase domain and displacement of the ligand. The visible spectral properties revert to that of the oxidized resting form. Aerobic reduction of the nitrosyl complex of the BM3 holoenzyme or heme domain by sodium dithionite also displaces the ligand. A single electron reduction destabilizes the ferric-nitrosyl complex such that nitric oxide is released directly, as shown by the trapping of released nitric oxide. Aerobically and in the absence of exogenous reductant, nitric oxide dissociates completely from the P450 over periods of several minutes. However, recovery of the nativelike visible spectrum is accompanied by alterations in the catalytic activity of the enzyme and changes in the resonance Raman spectrum. Specifically, resonance Raman spectroscopy identifies the presence of internally located nitrated tyrosine residue(s) following treatment with nitric oxide. Analysis of a Y51F mutant indicates that this is the major nitration target under these conditions. While wild-type P450 BM3 does not form an aerobically stable ferrous-nitrosyl complex, a site-directed mutant of P450 BM3 (F393H) does form an isolatable ferrous-nitrosyl complex, providing strong evidence for the role of this residue in controlling the electronic properties of the heme iron. We report here the spectroscopic characterization of the ferric- and ferrous-nitrosyl complexes of P450 BM3 and describe the use of resonance Raman spectroscopy to identify nitrated tyrosine residue(s) in the enzyme. Nitration of tyrosine in P450 BM3 may exemplify a typical mechanism by which the ubiquitous messenger molecule nitric oxide exerts a regulatory function over the cytochromes P450.
    Biochemistry 01/2005; 43(51):16416-31. · 3.38 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The GroEL molecular chaperone of Escherichia coli and its cofactor GroES are highly conserved, and are required for the folding of many proteins. Most but not all bacteria express single GroEL and GroES proteins. Rhizobium leguminosarum strain A34 encodes three complete operons encoding homologues to GroEL and GroES. We have used circular dichroism and measurement of ATPase activity to compare the stabilities of these chaperonins after expression in and purification from E. coli. Significant differences in the stabilities of the proteins with respect to denaturant and temperature were found. The proteins also differed in their ability to refold denatured lactate dehydrogenase. This study, the first to compare the properties of three different GroEL homologues from the same organism, shows that despite the high degree of similarity between different homologues, they can display distinct properties in vitro.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 12/2004; 324(2):822-8. · 2.41 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
523.10 Total Impact Points


  • 2002–2010
    • University of Aberdeen
      • • Institute of Medical Sciences
      • • School of Medical Sciences
      Aberdeen, SCT, United Kingdom
    • University of Strathclyde
      • Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry
      Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 1991–2009
    • University of Glasgow
      • School of Chemistry
      Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 2004
    • University of Dundee
      • College of Life Sciences
      Dundee, SCT, United Kingdom
  • 1991–2001
    • The University of Edinburgh
      • • School of Chemistry
      • • Department of Clinical Biochemistry
      Edinburgh, SCT, United Kingdom
  • 1988–2001
    • University of Stirling
      • Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
      Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 1998
    • Medical Research Council (UK)
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 1996
    • Institute for Animal Health
      Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 1993
    • Newcastle University
      • Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences
      Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, United Kingdom