Energetic frustration of apomyoglobin folding: role of the B helix.J Mol Biol. 2010 Mar 12; 396(5):1319-28.JM
Apomyoglobin folds by a sequential mechanism in which the A, G, and H helix regions undergo rapid collapse to form a compact intermediate onto which the central portion of the B helix subsequently docks. To investigate the factors that frustrate folding, we have made mutations in the N-terminus of the B helix to stabilize helical structure (in the mutant G23A/G25A) and to promote native-like hydrophobic packing interactions with helix G (in the mutant H24L/H119F). The kinetic and equilibrium intermediates of G23A/G25A and H24L/H119F were studied by hydrogen exchange pulse labeling and interrupted hydrogen/deuterium exchange combined with NMR. For both mutants, stabilization of helical structure in the N-terminal region of the B helix is confirmed by increased exchange protection in the equilibrium molten globule states near pH 4. Increased protection is also observed in the GH turn region in the G23A/G25A mutant, suggesting that stabilization of the B helix facilitates native-like interactions with the C-terminal region of helix G. These interactions are further enhanced in H24L/H119F. The kinetic burst phase intermediates of both mutants show increased protection, relative to wild-type protein, of amides in the N-terminus of the B helix and in part of the E helix. Stabilization of the E helix in the intermediate is attributed to direct interactions between E helix residues and the newly stabilized N-terminus of helix B. Stabilization of native packing between the B and G helices in H24L/H119F also favors formation of native-like interactions in the GH turn and between the G and H helices in the ensemble of burst phase intermediates. We conclude that instability at the N-terminus of the B helix of apomyoglobin contributes to the energetic frustration of folding by preventing docking and stabilization of the E helix.