Substitutions of surface amino acid residues of cutinase probed by aqueous two-phase partitioning

Kristina Berggren, Maarten R Egmond, Folke Tjerneld

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24 Citations (SciVal)


The surface properties of a protein are often crucial for recognition and interaction with other molecules. Important functional residues can be identified by mutational analysis. There is a need for rapid methods to study protein surfaces and surface changes due to mutations. Partitioning in aqueous two-phase systems has the potential to be used in this respect since protein partitioning depends on the surface properties of the protein. The influence of surface-exposed amino acid residues in protein partitioning has been studied with cutinase variants, which differed in one or several amino acid residues as a result of site-directed mutagenesis. The solvent accessibility of the mutated residues was determined with a computer program, Graphical Representation and Analysis of Surface Properties. The aqueous two-phase system was composed of dextran and a random copolymer of ethylene oxide and propylene oxide. It was shown, for the first time, to what extent surface-exposed amino acid residues influence the partition coefficient in an aqueous two-phase system. The effect on partitioning could be described only taking into account solvent accessibility and type of residue substitution. The results demonstrate that the system can be used to detect conformational changes in mutant proteins since the expected effect on partitioning due to a mutation can be calculated. The aqueous two-phase system used here does indeed provide a rapid and convenient method to study protein surfaces and slight surface changes due to mutations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-327
JournalBBA - Protein Structure and Molecular Enzymology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Biological Sciences


  • Protein surface
  • Site-directed mutagenesis
  • Aqueous two-phase system
  • Partitioning


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