Reduced BPTI is collapsed. A pulsed field gradient NMR study of unfolded and partially folded bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor

Hong Pan, George Barany, Clare Woodward

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Pulsed field gradient NMR was used to measure the hydrodynamic behavior of unfolded variants of bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (BPTI). The unfolded BPTI species studied were [R](Abu), at pH 4.5 and pH 2.5, and unfolded [14-38](Abu), at pH 2.5. These were prepared by chemical synthesis [R](Abu) is a model for reduced BPTI; all cysteine residues are replaced by α-amino-n-butyric acid (Abu). [14-38](Abu) retains cysteines 14 and 38, which form a disulfide bond, while the other cysteine residues are replaced by Abu. In the PFG experiments, the diffusion coefficient is measured as a function of protein concentration, and the value of D°-the diffusion coefficient extrapolated to infinite dilution-is determined. From D°, a value of the hydrodynamic radius, R(h), is computed from the Stokes-Einstein relationship. At pH 4.5, [R](Abu) has an R(h) value significantly less than the value calculated for a random coil, while at pH 2.5 the experimental R(h) value is the same as for a random coil. In view of the changes in NMR- detected structure of [R](Abu) at pH 4.5 versus pH 2.5 (Pan H, Barbar E, Barany G, Woodward C. 1995. Extensive non-random structure in reduced and unfolded bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor. Biochemistry 34:13974-13981), the collapse of reduced BPTI at pH 4.5 may be associated with the formation of non-native hydrophobic clusters of pairs of side chains one to three amino acids apart in sequence. The diffusion constant of [14-38](Abu) was also measured at pH 4.5, where the protein is partially folded. An increase in hydrodynamic radius of partially folded [14-38](Abu), relative to native BPTI, is similar to the increase in radius of gyration measured for other proteins under 'molten globule' conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1985-1992
Number of pages8
JournalProtein Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1997


  • Bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor
  • Protein folding
  • Protein hydrodynamics
  • Pulsed field gradient NMR
  • Unfolded proteins


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