Electrostatic interactions in the acid denaturation of α-lactalbumin determined by NMR

Seho Kim, Jean Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


α-Lactalbumin (α-LA) undergoes a pH-dependent unfolding from the native state to a partially unfolded state (the molten globule state). To understand the role of electrostatic interactions in protein denaturation, NMR and CD pH titration experiments are performed on guinea pig α-LA. Variation of pH over the range of 7.0 to 2.0 simultaneously leads to the acid denaturation of the protein and the titration of individual ionizable groups. The pH titrations are interpreted in the context of these coupled events, and indicate that acid denaturation in α-LA is a cooperative event that is triggered by the protonation of two ionizable residues. Our NMR results suggest that the critical electrostatic interactions that contribute to the denaturation of α-LA are concentrated in the calcium binding region of the protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1930-1938
Number of pages9
JournalProtein Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


  • Chemical exchange
  • Ionizable groups
  • NMR
  • pH titration
  • pK(a) values


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