Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Apocytochrome c, which in aqueous solution is largely unstructured, acquires a highly alpha-helical structure upon interaction with lipid. The alpha-helix content induced in apocytochrome c depends on the lipid system, and this folding process is driven by both electrostatic and hydrophobic lipid-protein interactions. The folding kinetic mechanism of apocytochrome c induced by zwitterionic micelles of lysophosphatidylcholine (L-PC), predominantly driven by hydrophobic lipid-protein interactions, was investigated by fluorescence stopped-flow measurements of Trp 59 and fluorescein-phosphatidylethanolamine-(FPE) labeled micelles, in combination with stopped-flow far-UV circular dichroism. It was found that formation of the alpha-helical structure of apocytochrome c precedes membrane insertion. The unfolded state in solution (U(W)) binds to the micelle surface in a helical conformation (I(S)) and is followed by insertion into the lipid micelle, i.e., formation of the final helical state H(L). Binding of apocytochrome c to the lipid micelle (U(W) --> I(S)) is concurrent with formation of a large fraction (75-100%, depending on lipid concentration) of the alpha-helical structure of the final lipid-inserted state H(L). The highly helical intermediate I(S) is formed on the time scale of 3-12 ms, depending on lipid concentration, and inserts into the lipid micelle (I(S) --> H(L)) in the time range of approximately 200 ms to >1 s, depending on lipid-to-protein ratio. The final lipid-inserted helical state H(L) in L-PC micelles has an alpha-helix content approximately 65% of that of cytochrome c in solution and has no compact stable tertiary structure as revealed by circular dichroism results.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





9758 - 9767


Animals, Apoproteins, Binding Sites, Circular Dichroism, Cytochrome c Group, Cytochromes c, Horses, Kinetics, Lipid Bilayers, Lysophosphatidylcholines, Micelles, Protein Folding, Protein Structure, Secondary, Spectrometry, Fluorescence, Tryptophan