Interactive intermediates are formed during the urea unfolding of rhodanese

P. M. Horowitz, M. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Structural transitions have been studied on the pathway for urea denaturation of rhodanese. Unlike guanidinium hydrochloride, urea gives no visible precipitation. Increasing urea concentrations cause a transition in which the enzyme activity is completely lost by 4.5 M urea, and there is a shift of the intrinsic fluorescence maximum from 335 nm for the native enzyme to 350 nm. There is a maximum exposure of organized hydrophobic surfaces at 4.5 M urea as reported by the fluorescence of 1,1'-bi(4-anilino)naphthalene- 5,5'-disulfonic acid. Above 4.5 M urea, this probe reports the progressive loss of organized hydrophobic surfaces. The polarization of the intrinsic fluorescence falls with increasing urea concentrations in a complex transition showing that rhodanese flexibility increases in at least two phases. Rhodanese becomes increasingly susceptible to digestion by subtilisin between 3.5 and 4.5 M urea, giving rise to large fragments. At urea concentrations >5 M, rhodanese is completely digested. There is a small increase in the rate of sulfhydryl accessibility between 3.5 and 4.5 M urea, but there is a large increase in the sulfhydryl accessibility above 4.5 M urea. Dimethyl suberimidate cross-linking shows the presence of associated species in 3-5 M urea, but there are few cross-linkable species at lower or higher urea concentrations. These results are consistent with a model in which urea unfolding of rhodanese is associated with the initial production of a species having organized regions of structure with exposed hydrophobic surfaces separated by flexible elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2500-2504
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Interactive intermediates are formed during the urea unfolding of rhodanese'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this