Author(s): Jana R, Hazbun TR, Mollah AK, Mossing MC
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Abstract The folding, dimerization and DNA binding equilibria of the bacteriophage lambda Cro repressor have been characterized. Comparison with four engineered variants shows that a folded monomeric species is substantially populated under conditions used for the formation of dimer-DNA complexes. Although Cro dimers are the only DNA-bound species observed in electrophoretic mobility shift assays, cooperativity in Cro-DNA binding isotherms shows that the predominant free protein species is monomeric at nanomolar concentrations. Micromolar dissociation constants for Cro dimers have been measured in the absence of DNA by sedimentation equilibrium and gel filtration chromatography. Denaturation of Cro dimers in the 10 to 100 micromolar concentration range by guanidine hydrochloride (GdnHCl) is well modeled as a two-state process, with folded dimers and unfolded monomers as the only significantly populated species. However, linear extrapolation of this composite unfolding and dimer dissociation free energy predicts a nanomolar dissociation constant in the absence of denaturant. This extrapolation is clearly inconsistent with the DNA binding and hydrodynamic measurements. Our interpretation of these results is that the monomeric species detected in DNA binding and hydrodynamic experiments is predominantly folded. The stability of the folded monomeric species can be calculated as the difference between the dimerization free energy determined from hydrodynamic measurements and the folding free energy extrapolated from GdnHCl denaturation. The calculated stability of the Cro F58W monomer is greater than that of the wild-type Cro monomer. Thus, residue 58, which makes critical intermolecular contacts across the dimer interface, is also involved in intramolecular stabilization of the monomeric intermediate. Copyright 1997 Academic Press Limited.
This article was published in J Mol Biol
and referenced in Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics