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Analysis of betaB1-crystallin unfolding equilibrium by spin and fluorescence labeling: evidence of a dimeric intermediate.


Koteiche HAHanane A , Kumar MS M Satish , McHaourab HS Hassane S . FEBS letters. 2007 5 15; 581(10). 1933-8


A central step in understanding lens aging is to characterize the thermodynamic stability of its proteins and determine the consequences of changes in the primary sequence on their folding equilibria. For this purpose, destabilized mutations were introduced in betaB1-crystallin targeting the domain interface within the fold of a subunit. Global unfolding was monitored by tryptophan fluorescence while concomitant structural changes at the dimer interface were monitored by fluorescence and spin labels. Both spectral probes report explicit evidence of multi-state unfolding equilibrium. The biphasic nature of the unfolding curves was more pronounced at higher protein concentration. Distinct shifts in the midpoint of the second transition reflect the population of a dimeric intermediate. This intermediate may be a critical determinant for the life-long stability of the beta-crystallins and has important consequences on interactions with alpha-crystallin.