Journal of Protein Chemistry

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 45–58

A fluorescence study of Tn10-encoded Tet repressor

  • Zygmunt Wasylewski
  • Pawel Kaszycki
  • Monika Drwiega

DOI: 10.1007/BF01886810

Cite this article as:
Wasylewski, Z., Kaszycki, P. & Drwiega, M. J Protein Chem (1996) 15: 45. doi:10.1007/BF01886810


Steady-state fluorescence quenching and time-resolved measurements have been performed to resolve the fluorescence contributions of the two tryptophan residues, W43 and W75, in the subunit of the homodimer of the Tet repressor fromEscherichia coli. The W43 residue is localized within the helix-turn-helix structural domain, which is responsible for sequence-specific binding of the Tet repressor to thetet operator. The W75 residue is in the protein matrix near the tetracycline-binding site. The assignment of the two residues has been confirmed by use of single-tryptophan mutants carrying either W43 or W75. The FQRS (fluorescence-quenching-resolved-spectra) method has been used to decompose the total emission spectrum of the wild-type protein into spectral components. The resolved spectra have maxima of fluorescence at 349 and 324 nm for the W43 and W75 residues, respectively. The maxima of the resolved spectra are in excellent agreement with those found using single-tryptophan-containing mutants. The fluorescence decay properties of the wild type as well as of both mutants of Tet repressor have been characterized by carrying out a multitemperature study. The decays of the wild-type Tet repressor and W43-containing mutant can be described as being of double-exponential type. The W75 mutant decay can be described by a Gaussian continuous distribution centered at 5.0 nsec with a bandwidth equal to 1.34 nsec. The quenching experiments have shown the presence of two classes of W43 emission. One of the components, exposed to solvent, has a maximum of fluorescence emission at 355 nm, with the second one at about 334 nm. The red-emitting component can be characterized by bimolecular-quenching rate constant,kq equal to 2.6×109, 2.8×109, and 2.0×109 M−1 sec−1 for acrylamide, iodide, and succinimide, respectively. The bluer component is unquenchable by any of the quenchers used. The W75 residue of the Tet repressor has quenching rate constant equal to 0.85×109 and 0.28 × 109 M−1 sec−1 for acrylamide and succinimide, respectively. These values indicate that the W75 is not deeply buried within the protein matrix. Our results indicate that the Tet repressor can exist in its ground state in two distinct conformational states which differ in the microenvironment of the W43 residue.

Key words

Tet repressorTrp fluorescencerecombinant proteinsEscherichia coli



fluorescence-quenching-resolved spectra


helix-turn-helix motif


tetracycline repressor fromE. coli


wild-type TetR


single point mutant with phenyloalanine substituted for tryptophan at position 75 in both subunits


single point mutant with phenyloalanine substituted for tryptophan at position 43 in both subunits

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zygmunt Wasylewski
    • 1
  • Pawel Kaszycki
    • 1
  • Monika Drwiega
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physical Biochemistry, Institute of Molecular BiologyJagiellonian UniversityKrakówPoland