The exploration of events taking place at different timescales and affecting the structural and dynamics properties of proteins, such as the interactions of proteins with ligands and the subunits association/dissociation, must necessarily be performed by using different methodologies, each of which specialized to highlight the different phenomena that occur when proteins are exposed to chemical or physical stress. In this work, we investigated the structure and dynamics of the wild-type bovine odorant-binding protein (wt-bOBP), which is a domain-swapped dimeric protein, and the triple mutant deswapped monomeric form of the protein (m-bOBP) to shed light on the role of the quaternary and tertiary structural organization in the protein thermal stability. Difference infrared spectra, 2D-IR correlation spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations were used to probe the effect of heating on protein structure and dynamics in microsecond and nanoseconds temporal ranges, respectively. The obtained results show that there is a heating-induced transition toward a less structured state in m-bOBP, that it is detectable around 70-80°C. On the contrary, in wt-bOBP this transition is almost negligible, and changes are detectable in the protein spectra in the range of temperature between 75 and 85°C. A detailed 3D inspection of the structure of the two proteins that takes into the account the spectroscopic results indicates that (a) ion pairs and hydrophobic interactions appear to be the major determinants responsible for the protein stability and (b) the protein intersubunit interactions confer an increased resistance toward the thermal stress.
- Odorant-binding protein
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