1 Department of Molecular Biology, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet3 unknown4 Biomolecular Sciences, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet5 Administration, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet6 Biomolecular Sciences, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet7 Administration, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet
The peptide segment corresponding to helix A4 in acyl-coenzyme-A-binding protein (ACBP) is an exceptionally stable helix in the denatured state of the protein as well as in its isolated form. Circular dichroism spectroscopy showed an a-helix content in the helix A4 peptide (HA4) of 45%, and under denaturing conditions at pH 2.3, helix conformations are still populated in 24% of the ensemble of molecules. The structure of HA4 at atomic resolution was assessed using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Long-range NOEs between remote residues at opposite peptide ends suggested the formation of an antiparallel homodimer, and the resulting structure was treated as the minimum higher-order structure. The dimerization property of helix A4 is maintained in the full-length protein under denaturing conditions. NMR diffusion studies and concentration-dependent experiments on ACBP at low pH proved the formation of dimers and revealed a cooperative stabilization of helix A4 in this process. This emphasizes its special role in the structure formation in the denatured state of ACBP. No dimers are formed in the presence of guanidine hydrochloride, which underlines the fundamental difference between the nature of these two denatured states.