Effects of metal binding affinity on the chemical and thermal stability of site-directed mutants of rat oncomodulin
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Tryptophan fluorescence was used to study the stability and unfolding behavior of several single tryptophan mutants of the metal-binding protein rat oncomodulin (OM); F102W, Y57W, Y65W and the engineered protein CDOM33 which had the 12 residues of the CD loop replaced with a more potent metal binding site. Both the thermal and the chemical stability were improved upon binding of metal ions with the order apo < Ca2+ < Tb3+. During thermal denaturation, the transition midpoints (T(un)) of Y65W was the lowest, followed by Y57W and F102W. The placement of the Trp residue in the F-helix in F102W made the protein slightly more thermostable, although the fluorescence response was readily affected by chemical denaturants, which acted through the disruption of hydrogen bonds at the C-terminal end of the F-helix. Under both thermal and chemical denaturation, the engineered protein showed the highest stability. This indicated that increasing the number of metal ligating oxygens in the binding site, either by using a metal ion with a higher coordinate number (i.e., Tb3+) which binds more carboxylate ligands, or by providing more ligating groups, as in the CDOM33 replacement, produces notable improvements in protein stability.
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