Ionization, partitioning, and dynamics of tryptophan octyl ester: implications for membrane-bound tryptophan residues

Chattopadhyay, A. ; Mukherjee, S. ; Rukmini, R. ; Rawat, S. S. ; Sudha, S. (1997) Ionization, partitioning, and dynamics of tryptophan octyl ester: implications for membrane-bound tryptophan residues Biophysical Journal, 73 (2). pp. 839-849. ISSN 0006-3495

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The presence of tryptophan residues as intrinsic fluorophores in most proteins makes them an obvious choice for fluorescence spectroscopic analyses of such proteins. Membrane proteins have been reported to have a significantly higher tryptophan content than soluble proteins. The role of tryptophan residues in the structure and function of membrane proteins has attracted a lot of attention. Tryptophan residues in membrane proteins and peptides are believed to be distributed asymmetrically toward the interfacial region. Tryptophan octyl ester (TOE) is an important model for membrane-bound tryptophan residues. We have characterized this molecule as a fluorescent membrane probe in terms of its ionization, partitioning, and motional characteristics in unilamellar vesicles of dioleoylphosphatidylcholine. The ionization property of this molecule in model membranes has been studied by utilizing its pH-dependent fluorescence characteristics. Analysis of pH-dependent fluorescence intensity and emission maximum shows that deprotonation of the alpha-amino group of TOE occurs with an apparent pKa of ~7.5 in the membrane. The fluorescence lifetime of membrane-bound TOE also shows pH dependence. The fluorescence lifetimes of TOE have been interpreted by using the rotamer model for the fluorescence decay of tryptophan. Membrane/water partition coefficients of TOE were measured in both its protonated and deprotonated forms. No appreciable difference was found in its partitioning behavior with ionization. Analysis of fluorescence polarization of TOE as a function of pH showed that there is a decrease in polarization with increasing pH, implying more rotational freedom on deprotonation. This is further supported by pH-dependent red edge excitation shift and the apparent rotational correlation time of membrane-bound TOE. TOE should prove useful in monitoring the organization and dynamics of tryptophan residues incorporated into membranes.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Biophysical Society.
ID Code:85721
Deposited On:05 Mar 2012 13:28
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