Circular Dichroism and Fluorescence Spectroscopy of Cysteinyl-tRNA Synthetase from Halobacterium salinarum ssp. NRC-1 Demonstrates that Group I Cations Are Particularly Effective in Providing Structure and Stability to This Halophilic Protein
Christopher J. Reed, Sarah Bushnell, Caryn Evilia
Proteins from extremophiles have the ability to fold and remain stable in their extreme environment. Here, we investigate the presence of this effect in the cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase from Halobacterium salinarum ssp. NRC-1 (NRC-1), which was used as a model halophilic protein. The effects of salt on the structure and stability of NRC-1 and of E. coli CysRS were investigated through far-UV circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, and thermal denaturation melts. The CD of NRC-1 CysRS was examined in different group I and group II chloride salts to examine the effects of the metal ions. Potassium was observed to have the strongest effect on NRC-1 CysRS structure, with the other group I salts having reduced strength. The group II salts had little effect on the protein. This suggests that the halophilic adaptations in this protein are mediated by potassium. CD and fluorescence spectra showed structural changes taking place in NRC-1 CysRS over the concentration range of 0–3 M KCl, while the structure of E. coli CysRS was relatively unaffected. Salt was also shown to increase the thermal stability of NRC-1 CysRS since the melt temperature of the CysRS from NRC-1 was increased in the presence of high salt, whereas the E. coli enzyme showed a decrease. By characterizing these interactions, this study not only explains the stability of halophilic proteins in extremes of salt, but also helps us to understand why and how group I salts stabilize proteins in general.
Circular dichroism, Secondary structure, Chemical stability, Biochemistry