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Formation of a molten globule like state in bovine serum albumin at alkaline pH

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Little work has been done to understand the folding profiles of multi-domain proteins at alkaline conditions. We have found the formation of a molten globule-like state in bovine serum albumin at pH 11.2 with the help of spectroscopic techniques; like far and near ultra-violet circular dichroism, intrinsic and extrinsic fluorescence spectroscopy. Interestingly, this state has features similar to the acid-denatured state of human serum albumin at pH 2.0 reported by Muzammil et al. (Eur J Biochem 266:26–32, 1999). This state has also shown significant increase in 8-anilino-1-naphthalene-sulfonate (ANS) binding in compare to the native state. At pH 13.0, the protein seems to acquire a state very close to 6 M guanidinium hydrochloride (GuHCl) denatured one. But, reversibility study shows it can regain nearly 40% of its native secondary structure. On the contrary, tertiary contacts have disrupted irreversibly. It seems, withdrawal of electrostatic repulsion leave room for local interactions, but disrupted tertiary contacts fail to regain their original states.

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The authors are highly thankful for the facilities obtained at AMU Aligarh. P. S. is the recipient of DBT-SRF and B. A. is the recipient of CSIR-SRF, respectively.

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Correspondence to Rizwan Hasan Khan.

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Sen, P., Ahmad, B. & Khan, R.H. Formation of a molten globule like state in bovine serum albumin at alkaline pH. Eur Biophys J 37, 1303–1308 (2008).

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