The Unfolding Pathways of the Native and Molten Globule States of 5-aminolevulinate Synthase

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In this communication, we report the equilibrium and kinetic properties of the unfolding pathways of the native (pH 7.5) and alkaline molten globule (pH 10.5) states of the pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzyme 5-aminolevulinate synthase (ALAS). The stability of the molten globule state is adversely affected by thermal- and guanidine hydrochloride (GuHCl)-induced denaturation, and the equilibrium unfolding pathways, irrespective of pH, cannot be described with simple two-state models. Rapid kinetic measurements, in the presence of denaturing GuHCl concentrations, reveal that at pH 10.5, the rate of ALAS denaturation is 3 times faster than at pH 7.5. From pH jump experiments, comparable rates for the denaturation of the tertiary structure and PLP-microenvironment were discerned, indicating that the catalytic active site geometry strongly depends on the stable tertiary structural organization. Lastly, we demonstrate that partially folded ALAS tends to self-associate into higher oligomeric species at moderate GuHCl concentrations.

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Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, v. 480, issue 3, p. 321-327