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    Chitinase 60 from the psychrophilic bacterium Moritella marina (MmChi60) is a four-domain protein whose structure revealed flexible hinge regions between the domains, yielding conformations in solution that range from fully extended to compact. The catalytic domain is a shallow-grooved TIM-barrel. Heat-induced denaturation experiments of the wild-type and mutants resulting from the deletions of the two-Ig-like domains and the chitin binding domain reveal calorimetric profiles that are consistent with non-collaborative thermal unfolding of the individual domains, a property that must be associated to the "hinge-regions". The calorimetric measurements of the (β/α)8 catalytic domain reveal that the thermal unfolding is a slow-relaxation transition exhibiting a stable, partially structured intermediate state. Circular dichroism provides evidence that the intermediate exhibits features of a molten globule i.e., loss of tertiary structure while maintaining the secondary structural elements of the native. GdnHCl-induced denaturation studies of the TIM-barrel demonstrate an extraordinarily high resistance to the denaturant. Slow-relaxation kinetics characterize the unfolding with equilibration times exceeding six days, a property that is for the first time observed for a psychrophilic TIM barrel. On the other hand, the thermodynamic stability is ΔG=6.75±1.3 kcal/mol, considerably lower than for structural-insertions-containing barrels. The mutant E153Q used for the crystallographic studies of MmChi60 complexes with NAG ligands has a much lower stability than the wild-type.


    Philemon Stavros, Piotr H Malecki, Maria Theodoridou, Wojciech Rypniewski, Constantinos E Vorgias, George Nounesis. The stability of the TIM-barrel domain of a psychrophilic chitinase. Biochemistry and biophysics reports. 2015 Sep;3:108-116

    PMID: 29124173

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