Reversible thermal denaturation of phosphoglycerate kinases (E.C. 188.8.131.52) from an extremely thermophilic bacterium Thermus thermophilus and from yeast were studied by measuring their circular dichroism and fluorescence intensity. The thermal denaturation in the presence of guanidine hydrochloride was completely reversible. The thermodynamic parameters for the reaction were calculated based on a two-state mechanism. The free energy changes in denaturation at 25 °C in the absence of denaturant were estimated to be 11.87 ± 0.21 kcal/mol for T. thermophilus phosphoglycerate kinase and 5.33 ± 0.13 kcal/mol for that of yeast. It was found that the van't Hoff plot of the equilibrium constant for the denaturation reaction was almost independent of temperature in the temperature range 0 to 60 °C for T. thermophilus phosphoglycerate kinase, while that of yeast phosphoglycerate kinase was strongly temperature-dependent as reported for other thermolabile proteins. The enthalpy change in denaturation varies from 0.03 to 6.2 kcal/mol (0 to 60 °C) for T. thermophilus phosphoglycerate kinase and from -27 to 31 kcal/mol (10 to 35 °C) for yeast enzyme. The entropy change in denaturation varies from -3.9 to 21 entropy units for T. thermophilus phosphoglycerate kinase and -96 to 104 entropys unit (10 to 35 °C) for yeast enzyme. The heat capacity change in denaturation is between 1.4 and 63 cal/deg. mol for the thermophile enzyme and between 1530 and 1750 cal/deg. mol for yeast enzyme at 20 °C. The observations that the enthalpy changes as well as the heat capacity changes in denaturation of the thermophilic enzyme were negligibly small suggest an explanation for the unusual stability to heat of T. thermophilus phosphoglycerate kinase. We also propose three possible mechanisms for the thermostability of proteins in general. © 1977.
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