The spectroscopic and reactivity properties of hemin complexes formed with cyanogen bromide fragments B (residues 1-123), C (124-298), A (299-585), and D (1-298) of human serum albumin (HSA) have been investigated. The complex hemin-D exhibits binding, spectral, circular dichroism, and reactivity characteristics very similar to those of hemin-HSA, indicating that fragment D contains the entire HSA domain involved in heme binding. The characteristics of the other hemin complexes are different, and a detailed investigation of the properties of hemin-C has been carried out because this fragment contains the HSA binding region of several important drugs. Hemin-C contains a low-spin Fe(III) center, with two imidazole ligands, but the complex undergoes a reversible structural transition at basic pH leading to a high-spin, five-coordinated Fe(III) species. This change determines a marked increase in the relaxation rate of water protons. Limited proteolysis experiments and mass spectral analysis carried out on fragment C and hemin-C show that the region encompassing residues Glu-208 to Trp-214 is protected from activity of proteases in the complex and, therefore, is involved in the interaction with hemin. A structural model of fragment C enables us to propose that His-242 and His-288 are the axial ligands for the Fe(III) center.
Amyloid fibrils of patients treated with regular hemodialysis essentially consists of beta2-microglobulin (beta2-m) and its truncated species DeltaN6beta2-m lacking six residues at the amino terminus. The truncated fragment has a more flexible three-dimensional structure and constitutes an excellent candidate for the analysis of a protein in the amyloidogenic conformation. The surface topology of synthetic fibrils obtained from intact beta2-m and truncated DeltaN6beta2-m was investigated by the limited proteolysis/mass spectrometry approach that appeared particularly suited to gain insights into the structure of beta2-m within the fibrillar polymer. The distribution of prefential proteolytic sites observed in both fibrils revealed that the central region of the protein, which had been easily cleaved in the full-length globular beta2-m, was fully protected in the fibrillar form. In addition, the amino- and carboxy-terminal regions of beta2-m became exposed to the solvent in the fibrils, whereas they were masked completely in the native protein. These data indicate that beta2-m molecules in the fibrils consist of an unaccessible core comprising residues 20-87 with the strands I and VIII being not constrained in the fibrillar polymer and exposed to the proteases. Moreover, proteolytic cleavages observed in vitro at Lys 6 and Lys 19 reproduce specific cleavages that have to occur in vivo to generate the truncated forms of beta2-m occurring in natural fibrils. On the basis of these data, a possible mechanism for fibril formation from native beta2-m is discussed and an explanation for the occurrence of truncated protein species in natural fibrils is given.
The chemical assessment of the complete disulphide bridge pattern in the beta-chain of human recombinant follicotropin (betaFSH) was accomplished by integrating classical biochemical methodologies with mass spectrometric procedures. A proteolytic strategy consisting of a double digestion of native betaFSH using the broad-specificity protease subtilisin first, followed by trypsin, was employed. The resulting peptide mixture was directly analysed by FAB-MS, leading to the assignment of the first three disulphide bridges. The remaining S-S bridges were determined by HPLC fractionation of the proteolytic digest followed by ESMS analysis of the individual fractions. The pattern of cysteine couplings in betaFSH was determined as: Cys3-Cys5l, Cys17-Cys66, Cys20-Cys104, Cys28-Cys82, Cys32-Cys84 and Cys87-Cys94, confirming the arrangement inferred from the crystal structure of the homologous betaCG. A subset of the S-S bridge pattern comprising Cys3-Cys51, Cys28-Cys82 and Cys32-Cys84 constitutes a cysteine knot motif similar to that found in the growth factor superfamily.
Five new low-molecular-mass trypsin inhibitors belonging to the RTI/MTI-2 family were identified from white mustard (Sinapis alba L. ; MTI-2) seed. Purified MTI-2 consisted of a peptide mixture, displaying Ile or Arg at position 43, Trp or kynurenine (Kyn) at position 44, and C-terminal ragged ends. The occurrence of Ile or Arg at position 43 suggested that MTI-2 inhibitors originated from different genes. The presence of 5-oxo-proline (pyroglutamic acid; 5-oxoPro1) and Kyn44 reflected post-translational processing of the serine proteinase inhibitor. MTI-2 showed approximately 70% amino-acid identity with low-molecular-mass trypsin inhibitors isolated from oil rape (Brassica napus var. oleifera; RTI-III) seed and with serine proteinase inhibitors mapped in Arabidopsis thaliana chromosome II (ATTI). Furthermore, MTI-2 was homologous to brazzein, the sweet-tasting protein from Pentadiplandra brazzeana Baillon fruit ( approximately 30% amino-acid identity). Although snake-venom toxins showed a low amino-acid identity (< 20%) with MTI-2, RTI-III, and ATTI, some structurally relevant residues were conserved. The disulfide bridge pattern of MTI-2 (Cys5-Cys27, Cys18-Cys31, Cys42-Cys52, and Cys54-Cys57) corresponded to that of RTI-III and of snake-venom toxins, being different from that of brazzein. Therefore, protein similarity might be attributable to the three-dimensional arrangement rather than to the amino-acid sequence. Values of Ka for MTI-2 binding to bovine beta-trypsin (trypsin) and bovine alpha-chymotrypsin were 6.3 x 109 M-1 and 2.0 x 106 M-1, respectively, at pH 8.0 and 21.0 degrees C. Moreover, values of kon for MTI-2 binding to trypsin and of koff for the dissociation of the serine proteinase:inhibitor complex were 5.6 x 105 M-1.s-1 and 8.9 x 10-5 M-1.s-1, respectively, at pH 8.0 and 21.0 degrees C. Despite the heterogeneity of the purified inhibitor peptide mixture, the inhibition properties of the different MTI-2 inhibitors were indistinguishable.
The structure of ecto-5'-nucleotidase from bull seminal plasma, containing a glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol anchor, was studied using mass spectrometry. MALDI-MS analysis of intact protein indicated a mass of 65 568.2 Da for the monomeric form, and it also showed a heterogeneous population of glycoforms with the glycosidic moiety accounting for approximately 6000 Da. MALDI-MS analysis showed that Asn53, Asn311, Asn333 and Asn403 were four sites of N-glycosylation. GC-MS analysis provided information on the glycosidic structures linked to the four asparagines. Asn53, Asn311 and Asn333 were linked to high-mannose saccharide chains, whereas the glycan chains linked to Asn403 contained a heterogeneous mixture of oligosaccharides, the high-mannose type structure being the most abundant and hybrid or complex type glycans being minor components. By combining enzymatic and/or chemical hydrolysis with GC-MS analysis, detailed characterization of the glycosyl-phpsphatidylinositol anchor was obtained. MALDI spectral analysis indicated that the glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol core contained EtN(P)Man3GlcNH2-myo-inositol(P)-glycerol, principally modified by stearoyl and palmitoyl residues or by stearoyl and myristoyl residues to a minor extent. Moreover, 1-palmitoylglycerol and 1-stearoylglycerol outweighed 2-palmitoylglycerol and 2-stearoylglycerol. The combination of chemical and enzymatic digestions of the protein with the mass spectral analysis yielded a complete pattern of S-S bridges. The protein does not contain free thiols and its eight cysteines are linked by intramolecular disulfide bonds, the pairs being: Cys51-Cys57, Cys353-Cys358, Cys365-Cys387 and Cys476-Cys479. This work resolves details of the structure of ecto-5'-nucleotidase, with particular regard to the localization and composition of the glycidic moiety, number and localization of the disulfide bridges and characterization of the glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol anchor.
The solution structure and stability of N-terminally truncated beta2-microglobulin (deltaN6beta2-m), the major modification in ex vivo fibrils, have been investigated by a variety of biophysical techniques. The results show that deltaN6beta2-m has a free energy of stabilization that is reduced by 2.5 kcal/mol compared to the intact protein. Hydrogen exchange of a mixture of the truncated and full-length proteins at microM concentrations at pH 6.5 monitored by electrospray mass spectrometry reveals that deltaN6beta2-m is significantly less protected than its wild-type counterpart. Analysis of deltaN6beta2-m by NMR shows that this loss of protection occurs in beta strands I, III, and part of II. At mM concentration gel filtration analysis shows that deltaN6beta2-m forms a series of oligomers, including trimers and tetramers, and NMR analysis indicates that strand V is involved in intermolecular interactions that stabilize this association. The truncated species of beta2-microglobulin was found to have a higher tendency to self-associate than the intact molecule, and unlike wild-type protein, is able to form amyloid fibrils at physiological pH. Limited proteolysis experiments and analysis by mass spectrometry support the conformational modifications identified by NMR and suggest that deltaN6beta2-m could be a key intermediate of a proteolytic pathway of beta2-microglobulin. Overall, the data suggest that removal of the six residues from the N-terminus of beta2-microglobulin has a major effect on the stability of the overall fold. Part of the tertiary structure is preserved substantially by the disulfide bridge between Cys25 and Cys80, but the pairing between beta-strands far removed from this constrain is greatly perturbed.
Human alpha1-microglobulin (alpha1-m; also called protein HC), a glycoprotein belonging to the lipocalin superfamily, was isolated by sequential anion-exchange chromatography and gel filtration from the urine of hemodialized patients and from amniotic fluid collected in the week 16-18 of pregnancy. The carbohydrate chains of the protein purified from the two sources, which are organized in two Asn-linked and one Thr-linked oligosaccharides, were structurally characterized using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization and electrospray mass spectrometry. The glycans attached to Thr5 are differently truncated NeuHexHexNAc sequences, and O-glycosylation in the amniotic fluid protein is only partial. Asn96 has both diantennary and triantennary structures attached in the case of urinary alpha1-m and only diantennary glycans in the amniotic fluid protein. The main carbohydrate units attached to Asn17 are in both proteins monosialylated and disialylated diantennary glycans. The position of the oligosaccharide chains in a three-dimensional model of the protein, produced using the automated Swiss-Model service, is also discussed.
Structural modifications induced by industrial treatments on milk proteins have been investigated using a new analytical protocol based on mass spectrometric procedures (electrospray and matrix assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry) providing a direct correlation between the severity of the treatment and the damages observed. The application of this procedure to the analysis of whey proteins from milk samples submitted to different thermal processes confirmed that under these conditions protein modification is essentially due to the nonenzymatic glycation of amino groups by lactose (Maillard reaction). A detailed structural investigation of the modification sites, carried out by the mass mapping strategy, revealed the occurrence of preferentially lactosylated sites in both alpha-lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin.
The present study focused on the investigation of the chemical stability of recombinant human interferon-beta (rhIFN-beta) tested in vitro by chemical treatments that simulate stress-induced conditions that may occur during handling, storage or ageing of protein samples. Mild oxidation and/or alkylation of the recombinant protein showed that the four methionines occurring in the interferon displayed different chemical susceptibility in that Met36 and Met117 were fully modified, whereas Met1 showed only little modification and Met62 was completely resistant. Moreover, incubation of rhIFN-beta under alkaline conditions resulted in the formation of a covalent dimeric species stabilised by an intermolecular disulphide bridge involving the free SH group of Cys17 from each polypeptide chain. Analysis of biological activity of the different IFN-beta derivatives showed that rhIFN-beta fully retains its specific activity following mild oxidation treatments whereas reaction with a high concentration of alkylating agents or incubation under alkaline conditions strongly reduce its specific antiviral activity.
Saposin D is generated together with three similar proteins, saposins A, B and C, from a common precursor, called prosaposin, in acidic organelles such as late endosomes and lysosomes. Although saposin D has been reported to stimulate the enzymatic hydrolysis of sphingomyelin and ceramide, its physiological role has not yet been clearly established. In the present study we examined structural and membrane-binding properties of saposin D. At acidic pH, saposin D showed a great affinity for phospholipid membranes containing an anionic phospholipid such as phosphatidylserine or phosphatidic acid. The binding of saposin D caused destabilization of the lipid surface and, conversely, the association with the membrane markedly affected the fluorescence properties of saposin D. The presence of phosphatidylserine-containing vesicles greatly enhanced the intrinsic tyrosine fluorescence of saposin D, which contains tyrosines but not tryptophan residues. The structural properties of saposin D were investigated in detail using advanced MS analysis. It was found that the main form of saposin D consists of 80 amino acid residues and that the six cysteine residues are linked in the following order: Cys5-Cys78, Cys8-Cys72 and Cys36-Cys47. The disulfide pattern of saposin D is identical with that previously established for two other saposins, B and C, which also exhibit a strong affinity for lipids. The common disulfide structure probably has an important role in the interaction of these proteins with membranes. The analysis of the sugar moiety of saposin D revealed that the single N-glycosylation site present in the molecule is mainly modified by high-mannose-type structures varying from two to six hexose residues. Deglycosylation had no effect on the interaction of saposin D with phospholipid membranes, indicating that the glycosylation site is not related to the lipid-binding site. The association of saposin D with membranes was highly dependent on the composition of the bilayer. Neither ceramide nor sphingomyelin, sphingolipids whose hydrolysis is favoured by saposin D, promoted its binding, while the presence of an acidic phospholipid such as phosphatidylserine or phosphatidic acid greatly favoured the interaction of saposin D with vesicles at low pH. These results suggest that, in the acidic organelles where saposins are localized, anionic phospholipids may be determinants of the saposin D topology and, conversely, saposin D may affect the lipid organization of anionic phospholipid-containing membranes.