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The Conformation of Serum Albumin in Solution: A Combined Phosphorescence Depolarization-Hydrodynamic Modeling Study

AuthorsFerrer, M. Luisa ; Duchowicz, Ricardo; Carrasco, Beatriz; García de la Torre, José; Acuña, A. Ulises
KeywordsHuman serum albumin
Issue Date1-May-2001
PublisherRockefeller University Press
CitationBiophysical Journal, Volume 80, Issue 5, 2422-2430 (2001)
AbstractThere is a striking disparity between the heart-shaped structure of human serum albumin (HSA) observed in single crystals and the elongated ellipsoid model used for decades to interpret the protein solution hydrodynamics at neutral pH. These two contrasting views could be reconciled if the protein were flexible enough to change its conformation in solution from that found in the crystal. To investigate this possibility we recorded the rotational motions in real time of an erythrosin-bovine serum albumin complex (Er-BSA) over an extended time range, using phosphorescence depolarization techniques. These measurements are consistent with the absence of independent motions of large protein segments in solution, in the time range from nanoseconds to fractions of milliseconds, and give a single rotational correlation time (BSA, 1cP, 20C)=402ns. In addition, we report a detailed analysis of the protein hydrodynamics based on two bead-modeling methods. In the first, BSA was modeled as a triangular prismatic shell with optimized dimensions of 84848431.5Å, whereas in the second, the atomic-level structure of HSA obtained from crystallographic data was used to build a much more refined rough-shell model. In both cases, the predicted and experimental rotational diffusion rate and other hydrodynamic parameters were in good agreement. Therefore, the overall conformation in neutral solution of BSA, as of HSA, should be rigid, in the sense indicated above, and very similar to the heart-shaped structure observed in HSA crystals.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3495(01)76211-X
Appears in Collections:(IQFR) Artículos
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