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In Vitro Unfolding of Insulin: Characterization of Intermediates and Putative Unfolding Pathway

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The in vitro insulin unfolding had been studied using the “equilibrium unfolding” method where protein is unfolded by reducing reagents in the presence of trace amounts of oxidants such as oxidized glutathione. Nine intermediates were captured in the unfolding process, named as P1A, P2A, P3A, P4A, P3B, P4B, P5B, P6B, and P7B, which were all either A chain derivatives or B chain derivatives. No intermediate with inter-A-B chain disulfide was captured. Based on the character of the intermediates, their distribution during the unfolding process and the hypothetic “transient” intermediates, an in vitro putative unfolding pathway of insulin had been proposed. Besides, the comparison of the intermediates captured in unfolding with the intermediates captured in the refolding process of insulin revealed that both unfolding/ refolding processes of insulin shared common intermediates. Based on these observations we suggested that the unfolding pathway of insulin was similar to the refolding pathway but flowed in the opposite direction.

Keywords: Disulfide; folding; insulin; unfolding; unfolding intermediate; unfolding pathway

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2010

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  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.

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