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The methanol-induced conformational transitions of beta-lactoglobulin, cytochrome c, and ubiquitin at low pH: A study by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry

TitleThe methanol-induced conformational transitions of beta-lactoglobulin, cytochrome c, and ubiquitin at low pH: A study by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsBabu, KR, Moradian, A, Douglas, DJ
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Volume12
Pagination317-328
Date PublishedMar
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1044-0305
Keywords2-DIMENSIONAL NMR, ALPHA-HELIX, AMIDE HYDROGEN-EXCHANGE, COMPLETE SEQUENCE, DENATURED STATES, DEUTERIUM-EXCHANGE, INTERMEDIATE, MYOGLOBIN, PROTEIN, SOLVENT
Abstract

The methanol-induced conformational transitions under acidic conditions for beta -lactoglobulin, cytochrome c, and ubiquitin, representing three different classes of proteins with beta -sheets, alpha -helices, and both alpha -helices and beta -sheets, respectively, are studied under equilibrium conditions by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). The folding states of proteins in solution are monitored by the charge state distributions that they produce during ESI and by hydrogen/deuterium (H/D) exchange followed by ESI-MS. The changes in charge state distributions are correlated with earlier studies by optical and other methods which have shown that, in methanol, these proteins form partially unfolded intermediates with induced ct-helix structure. Intermediate states formed at about 35% methanol concentration are found to give bimodal charge state distributions. The same rate of H/D exchange is shown by the two contributions to the bimodal distributions. This suggests the intermediates are highly flexible and may consist of a mixture of two or more rapidly interconverting conformers. H/D exchange of proteins followed by ESI-MS shows that helical denatured states, populated at around 50% methanol concentration, transform into more protected structures with further increases in methanol concentration, consistent with previous circular dicroism studies. These more protected structures still produce high charge states in ESI, similar to those of the fully denatured proteins. (C) 2001 American Society for Mass Spectrometry.

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