We have developed an instrumental setup that uses transient absorption to monitor protein folding/unfolding processes following a laser-induced, ultrafast release of protons from o-nitrobenzaldehyde. The resulting increase in [H(+)], which can be more than 100 microM, is complete within a few nanoseconds. The increase in [H(+)] lowers the pH of the solution from neutrality to approximately 4 at the highest laser pulse energy used. Protein structural rearrangements can be followed by transient absorption, with kinetic monitoring over a broad time range (approximately 10 ns to 500 ms). Using this pH-jump/transient absorption technique, we have examined the dissociation kinetics of non-native axial heme ligands (either histidine His26 or His33) in GuHCl-unfolded Fe(III) cytochrome c (cyt c). Deligation of the non-native ligands following the acidic pH-jump occurs as a biexponential process with different pre-exponential factors. The pre-exponential factors markedly depend on the extent of the pH-jump, as expected from differences in the pK(a) values of His26 and His33. The two lifetimes were found to depend on temperature but were not functions of either the magnitude of the pH-jump or the pre-pulse pH of the solution. The activation energies of the deligation processes support the suggestion that GuHCl-unfolded cyt c structures with non-native histidine axial ligands represent kinetic traps in unfolding.
Kinetics of histidine deligation from the heme in GuHCl-unfolded Fe(III) cytochrome c studied by a laser-induced pH-jump technique / ABBRUZZETTI S.; VIAPPIANI C; SMALL J.R; LIBERTINI L. J; SMALL E. W. - In: JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY. - ISSN 0002-7863. - 123(2001), pp. 6649-6653. [10.1021/ja010079n]
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