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Chemical unfolding of chicken villin headpiece in aqueous dimethyl sulfoxide solution: cosolvent concentration dependence, pathway, and microscopic mechanism

Roy, Susmita and Bagchi, Biman (2013) Chemical unfolding of chicken villin headpiece in aqueous dimethyl sulfoxide solution: cosolvent concentration dependence, pathway, and microscopic mechanism. In: Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 117 (16). pp. 4488-4502.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp308589b

Abstract

Unfolding of a protein often proceeds through partial unfolded intermediate states (PUIS). PUIS have been detected in several experimental and simulation studies. However, complete analyses of transitions between different PUIS and the unfolding trajectory are sparse. To understand such dynamical processes, we study chemical unfolding of a small protein, chicken villin head piece (HP-36), in aqueous dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) solution. We carry out molecular dynamics simulations at various solution compositions under ambient conditions. In each concentration, the initial step of unfolding involves separation of two adjacent native contacts, between phenyl alanine residues (11-18 and 7-18). This first step induces, under appropriate conditions, subsequent separation among other hydrophobic contacts, signifying a high degree of cooperativity in the unfolding process. The observed sequence of structural changes in HP-36 on increasing DMSO concentration and the observed sequence of PUIS, are in approximate agreement with earlier simulation results (in pure water) and experimental observations on unfolding of HP-36. Peculiar to water-DMSO mixture, an intervening structural transformation (around 15% of DMSO) in the binary mixture solvent retards the progression of unfolding as composition is increased. This is reflected in a remarkable nonmonotonic composition dependence of RMSD, radius of gyration and the fraction of native contacts. At 30% mole fraction of DMSO, we find the extended randomly coiled structure of the unfolded protein. The molecular mechanism of DMSO induced unfolding process is attributed to the initial preferential solvation of the hydrophobic side chain atoms through the methyl groups of DMSO, followed by the hydrogen bonding of the oxygen atom of DMSO to the exposed backbone NH groups of HP-36.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to American Chemical Society.
Department/Centre: Division of Chemical Sciences > Solid State & Structural Chemistry Unit
Depositing User: Francis Jayakanth
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2013 08:14
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2013 08:14
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/46698

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