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Effect of Ionic Liquids on the Solution Structure of Human Serum Albumin

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journal contribution
posted on 11.04.2011, 00:00 by Yasar Akdogan, Matthias J. N. Junk, Dariush Hinderberger
The effect of several ionic liquids (ILs) on the solution structure of human serum albumin (HSA) is revealed by continuous wave electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy and nanoscale distance measurements with double electron−electron resonance (DEER) spectroscopy. HSA, the most abundant protein in human blood, is able to bind and transport multiple fatty acids (FAs). Using spin-labeled FA, the uptake of the FA by the protein and their spatial distribution in the protein can be monitored. The FA distribution provides an indirect yet effective way to characterize the structure of the protein in solution. Addition of imidazolium-based ILs to an aqueous solution of HSA/FA conjugates is accompanied by significant destabilization and unfolding of the protein’s tertiary structure. In contrast, HSA maintains its tertiary structure when choline dihydrogenphosphate (dhp) is added. The comparison of FA distance distributions in HSA with and without choline dhp surprisingly revealed that with this IL, the FA anchoring units are in better agreement with the crystallographic data. Furthermore, the FA entry point distribution appears widened and more asymmetric than in pure buffer. These results indicate that choline dhp as a cosolvent may selectively stabilize HSA conformations closer to the crystal structure out of the overall conformational ensemble.