Branching in the sequential folding pathway of cytochrome c

Mallela M.G. Krishna, Haripada Maity, Jon N. Rumbley, S. Walter Englander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Previous results indicate that the folding pathways of cytochrome c and other proteins progressively build the target native protein in a predetermined stepwise manner by the sequential formation and association of native-like foldon units. The present work used native state hydrogen exchange methods to investigate a structural anomaly in cytochrome c results that suggested the concerted folding of two segments that have little structural relationship in the native protein. The results show that the two segments, an 18-residue omega loop and a 10-residue helix, are able to unfold and refold independently, which allows a branch point in the folding pathway. The pathway that emerges assembles native-like foldon units in a linear sequential manner when prior native-like structure can template a single subsequent foldon, and optional pathway branching is seen when prior structure is able to support the folding of two different foldons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1946-1956
Number of pages11
JournalProtein Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Cytochrome c
  • Foldon
  • Partially unfolded form
  • Predetermined pathway
  • Protein folding
  • Sequential stabilization


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