Intrinsic fluorescence of a hydrophobic myelin protein and some complexes with phospholipids
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The fluorescence characteristics of lipophilin, a proteolipid apoprotein from human myelin, were determined in aqueous and lipid environments. In all cases the tryptophan residues were located in buried hydrophobic sites of uniform, but limited, accessibility to the permeant quenching agent acrylamide; only in the helicogenic solvent 2-chloroethanol were the protein fluorophores exposed to the medium. Quantum yields were dependent on the state of aggregation of the protein in aqueous solution and increased considerably on treatment with lysolecithin micelles, or when the protein was combined with phosphatidylcholine by codialysis from 2-chloroethanol into water. Fluorescence titrations indicated that lipophilin bound to lysolecithin with an association constant greater than 10(6) L/mol. Radiationless singlet excitation energy transfer from tyrosine to tryptophan residues was found to decrease markedly when the protein was combined with lipids. When the protein was introduced into dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine vesicles, the tryptophan fluorescence did not detect any solid-liquid phase change. These results were consistent with strong hydrophobic interactions between lipophilin and phospholipids, which lead to conformational adjustments in the protein, and to establishment of an immobilized layer of boundary lipid in bilayer systems.
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