The alkali molten globule state of ferrocytochrome c: extraordinary stability, persistent structure, and constrained overall dynamics.Biochemistry. 2006 Mar 14; 45(10):3412-20.B
This paper describes the structural and dynamic properties of a hitherto uncovered alkali molten globule (MG) state of horse "ferrocytochrome c" (ferrocyt c). Several experimental difficulties mainly because of heme autoxidation and extraordinary stability of ferrocyt c have been overcome by working with the carbonmonoxide-bound molecule under extremely basic condition (pH 13) in a strictly anaerobic atmosphere. Structural and molecular properties extracted from basic spectroscopic experiments suggest that cations drive the base-denatured CO-liganded protein to the MG state. The stability of this state is approximately 5.2 kcal mol(-)(1), and the guanidinium-induced unfolding transition is sharp (m(g) approximately 2.3 kcal mol(-)(1) M(-)(1)), suggesting contents of rigid tertiary structure. Strategic experiments involving the measurement of the CO association rate to the base-denatured protein and intrachain diffusion rates measured by laser photolysis of CO indicate a substantially restricted overall motion and stiffness of the polypeptide chain in the MG state. Possible placement of the state in the folding coordinate of ferrocyt c is discussed.