European Journal of Biochemistry vol:270 issue:1 pages:119-128
The process of pressure-induced modification of horse liver alcohol dehydrogenase (HLADH) was followed by measuring in situ catalytic activity (up to 250 MPa), intrinsic fluorescence (0.1-600 MPa) and modifications of FTIR spectra (up to 1000 MPa). The tryptophan fluorescence measurements and the kinetic data indicated that the pressure-induced denaturation of HLADH was a process involving several transitions and that the observed transient states have characteristic properties of molten globules. Low pressure (<100 MPa) induced no important modification in the catalytic efficiency of the enzyme and slight conformational changes, characterized by a small decrease in the centre of spectral mass of the enzyme's intrinsic fluorescence: a native-like state was assumed. Higher pressures (100-400 MPa) induced a strong decrease of HLADH catalytic efficiency and further conformational changes. At 400 MPa, a dimeric molten globule-like state was proposed. Further increase of pressure (400-600 MPa) seemed to induce the dissociation of the dimer leading to a transition from the first dimeric molten globule state to a second monomeric molten globule. The existence of two independent structural domains in HLADH was assumed to explain this transition: these domains were supposed to have different stabilities against high pressure-induced denaturation. FTIR spectroscopy was used to follow the changes in HLADH secondary structures. This technique confirmed that the intermediate states have a low degree of unfolding and that no completely denatured form seemed to be reached, even up to 1000 MPa.