Solvent accessibility of protein surfaces by amide H/2H exchange MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry
One advantage of detecting amide H/2H exchange by mass spectrometry instead of NMR is that the more rapidly exchanging surface amides are still detectable. In this study, we present quench-flow amide H/2H exchange experiments to probe how rapidly the surfaces of two different proteins exchange. We compared the amide H/2H exchange behavior of thrombin, a globular protein, and IκBα, a nonglobular protein, to explore any differences in the determinants of amide H/2H exchange rates for each class of protein. The rates of exchange of only a few of the surface amides were as rapid as the “intrinsic” exchange rates measured for amides in unstructured peptides. Most of the surface amides exchanged at a slower rate, despite the fact that they were not seen to be hydrogen bonded to another protein group in the crystal structure. To elucidate the influence of the surface environment on amide H/2H exchange, we compared exchange data with the number of amides participating in hydrogen bonds with other protein groups and with the solvent accessible surface area. The best correlation with amide H/2H exchange was found with the total solvent accessible surface area, including side chains. In the case of the globular protein, the correlation was modest, whereas it was well correlated for the nonglobular protein. The nonglobular protein also showed a correlation between amide exchange and hydrogen bonding. These data suggest that other factors, such as complex dynamic behavior and surface burial, may alter the expected exchange rates in globular proteins more than in nonglobular proteins where all of the residues are near the surface.
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