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3D Domain Swapping Provides a Minor Alternative Refolding Pathway for Ribonuclease A

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The C-terminal β-hairpin of RNase A contains a turn with a cis Asn113-Pro114 peptide bond. Pioneering pulsed HX experiments have shown that the C-terminal β-hairpin forms early during refolding. This is puzzling since the Asn113-Pro114 bond is predominately trans at this stage and this conformation destabilizes the native monomer. RNase A, when refolded at high concentration, forms a series of 3D domain-swapped oligomers. In the oligomers formed by C terminal β-strand swapping, Asn113-Pro114 is trans and permits the formation of a new intersubunit β-sheet. We hypothesize that oligomeric species with trans Asn113-Pro114 may form during refolding. Such species could account for the HX results while comfortably accommodating Asn113-Pro114 in the trans conformation. Here, we test this hypothesis by employing chromatographic methods to detect oligomers forming in refolding conditions and find significant amounts of dimer. We propose that a 3D domain-swapped dimeric intermediate provides a minor alternative pathway for RNase A refolding.

Keywords: 3D domain swapping; 3D domain-swapped oligomers; C-dimer; GdmCl; Hofmeister stabilizer; NaPi buffer; RNase A; amyloid formation; amyloidogenesis; chromatography; hydrogen deuterium exchange; proline isomerization; protein folding

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2011

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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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