Protein Folding Triggered by Electron Transfer

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  15 Mar 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5255, pp. 1558-1560
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5255.1558


Rapid photochemical electron injection into unfolded ferricytochrome c titrated with 2.3 to 4.6 M guanidine hydrochloride (GuHCl) at pH 7 and 40°C produced unfolded ferrocytochrome, which then converted to the folded protein. Two folding phases were observed: a fast process with a time constant of 40 microseconds (4.6 M GuHCl), and a slower phase with a rate constant of 90 ± 20 per second (2.3 M GuHCl). The activation free energy for the slow step varied linearly with GuHCl concentration; the rate constant, extrapolated to aqueous solution, was 7600 per second. Electron-transfer methods can bridge the nanosecond to millisecond measurement time gap for protein folding.