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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A maximum of two tryptophan residues in gene-32 protein from phage T4 undergo stacking interactions with single-stranded polynucleotides.

The effect of specific photochemical and radiochemical modification of tryptophyl and cysteinyl residues of the gene 32 protein (gp 32) of bacteriophage T4 on its affinity towards single-stranded polynucleotides has been investigated. Oxidation of Cys residues of gp 32 by the free-radical anion I-.2 induces a partial loss of the protein affinity, probably by affecting the metal-binding domain which includes three of the four cysteine residues of gp 32. Ultraviolet irradiation of gp 32 in the presence of trichloroethanol results in the modification of three of its five Trp residues and total loss of the protein binding. Analysis of the relative affinity of ultraviolet-irradiated gp 32 for single-stranded polynucleotides suggest that modification of a Trp of enhanced reactivity occurs first and has no effect on the protein binding. Radiochemical modification of three Trp residues of gp 32 by (SCN)-.2 results in total loss of activity. Complexation of gp 32 with denatured DNA prior to gamma-irradiation protects two Trp residues and prevents the protein inactivation. These results suggest that at most two Trp residues are involved in stacking interactions with nucleic acid bases. However, time-resolved spectroscopic methods which allow us to monitor selectively the stacked tryptophan residues have not yielded evidence of more than a single residue undergoing such interactions.[1]


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