The refolding process and the equilibrium intermediates of urea-denatured arginine kinase (AK) were investigated by 1-anilino-8-naphthalenesulfonate (ANS) intrinsic fluorescence, far-UV circular dichroism (CD), size-exclusion chromatography (SEC), and enzymatic activity. In dilute denaturant, two equilibrium refolding intermediates (I and N′) were discovered, and a refolding scheme of urea-denatured AK was proposed. During the refolding of urea-denatured AK, the fluorescence intensity increased remarkably, accompanied by a significant blue shift of the emission maximum and a pronounced increase in molar ellipticity of CD at 222 nm. The first folding intermediate (I) was inactive in urea solution ranging between 2.4 and 3.0 M. The second (N′) existed between a 0.4- and 0.8-M urea solution, with slightly increased activity. Neither the blue shift emission maximum nor the molar ellipticity of CD at 222 nm showed significant changes in these two regions. The two intermediates were characterized by monitoring the ANS binding ability in various residual urea solutions, and two peaks of the emission intensity were observed in urea solutions of 0.6 and 2.8 M, respectively. The SEC results indicated that a distribution coefficient (KD) platform existed in urea solutions ranging between 2.4 and 3.0 M urea, suggesting that there was a similarly apparent protein profile and size in the urea solution region. The refolding kinetics showed that the urea-denatured AK was in two-phase refolding. Proline isomerization occurred in the unfolding process of AK, which blocked the slow phase of refolding. These results suggested that the refolding process of urea-denatured AK contained at the least two equilibrium refolding intermediates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Arginine kinase
- Equilibrium intermediate