Tryptophan fluorescence of yeast actin resolved via conserved mutations

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Actin contains four tryptophan residues, W79, W86, W340, and W356, all located in subdomain 1 of the protein. Replacement of each of these residues with either tyrosine (W79Y and W356Y) or phenylalanine (W86F and W340F) generated viable proteins in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which, when purified, allowed the analysis of the contribution of these residues to the overall tryptophan fluorescence of actin. The sum of the relative contributions of these tryptophans was found to account for the intrinsic fluorescence of wild-type actin, indicating that energy transfer between the tryptophans is not the main determinant of their quantum yield, and that these mutations induce little conformational change to the protein. This was borne out by virtually identical polymerization rates and similar myosin interactions of each of the mutants and the wild-type actin. In addition, these mutants allowed the dissection of the microenvironment of each tryptophan as actin undergoes conformational changes upon metal cation exchange and polymerization. Based on the relative tryptophan contributions determined from single mutants, a triple mutant of yeast actin (W79) was generated that showed small intrinsic fluorescence and should be useful for studies of actin interactions with actin-binding proteins.




Doyle, T. C., Hansen, J. E., & Reisler, E. (2001). Tryptophan fluorescence of yeast actin resolved via conserved mutations. Biophysical Journal, 80(1), 427–434.

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