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Distinct Unfolding and Refolding Pathways of Ribonuclease A Revealed by Heating and Cooling Temperature Jumps
Torrent i Mas, Joan; Marchal, Stéphane; Ribó i Panosa, Marc; Vilanova i Brugués, Maria; Georges, Cédric; Dupont, Yves; Lange, Reinhard
Heating and cooling temperature jumps (T-jumps) were performed using a newly developed technique to trigger unfolding and refolding of wild-type ribonuclease A and a tryptophan-containing variant (Y115W). From the linear Arrhenius plots of the microscopic folding and unfolding rate constants, activation enthalpy (ΔH#), and activation entropy (ΔS#) were determined to characterize the kinetic transition states (TS) for the unfolding and refolding reactions. The single TS of the wild-type protein was split into three for the Y115W variant. Two of these transition states, TS1 and TS2, characterize a slow kinetic phase, and one, TS3, a fast phase. Heating T-jumps induced protein unfolding via TS2 and TS3; cooling T-jumps induced refolding via TS1 and TS3. The observed speed of the fast phase increased at lower temperature, due to a strongly negative ΔH# of the folding-rate constant. The results are consistent with a path-dependent protein folding/unfolding mechanism. TS1 and TS2 are likely to reflect X-Pro114 isomerization in the folded and unfolded protein, respectively, and TS3 the local conformational change of the β-hairpin comprising Trp115. A very fast protein folding/unfolding phase appears to precede both processes. The path dependence of the observed kinetics is suggestive of a rugged energy protein folding funne
This work was carried out in the frame of COST Chemistry D30-WG005 cooperation and supported by a grant (BFU2006-15543-CO2-02/BMC) from the Ministerio de Educacio´n y Ciencia (Spain)
Química -- Simulació per ordinador
Chemistry -- Computer simulation
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Biophysical Society

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