Sj-FABPc of the blood fluke of humans, Schistosoma japonicum, is a member of the FABP/P2/CRBP/CRABP family of β-barrel cytosolic fatty-acid-binding and retinoid-binding proteins. Sj-FABPc has at least eight different variants encoded by a single-copy polymorphic gene. In fluorescence-based assays, recombinant Sj-FABPc was found to bind 11-(dansylamino)undecanoic acid (DAUDA), inducing a shift in peak fluorescence emission from 543 to 493 nm. A similar spectral change was observed in dansyl-amino-octanoic acid (in which the dansyl fluorophore is attached at the α-carbon rather than the Ω-carbon of DAUDA), indicating that the ligand enters entirely into the binding site. Sj-FABPc also bound the naturally fluorescent cis-parinaric acid, as well as oleic acid and arachidonic acid, by competition, but not all-trans-retinol. Dissociation constants were, for cis-parinaric acid, Kd = 2.5±0.1 μM (mean±S.E.M.) and an apparent stoichiometry consistent with one binding site per molecule of Sj-FABPc and, for oleic acid, Ki≈ 80 nM. A deletion mutant from which α-II was absent failed to bind ligand. Sj-FABPc modelled well to known structures of the protein family; an unusually solvent-exposed Trp side chain was evident adjacent to the presumptive portal through which ligand is thought to enter and leave. Intrinsic fluorescence analyses of Sj-FABPc and of the deletion mutant (from which Trp-27 is absent) confirmed the unusual disposition of this side chain. Virtually all members of the FABP/P2/CRBP/CRABP protein family have prominent hydrophobic side chains in this position, with the exception of liver FABP and ileal FABP, which instead have charged side chains. Liver FABP is known to be distinct from other members of the protein family in that it does not seem to contact membranes to collect and deposit its ligand. It is therefore postulated that the unusually positioned apolar side chains in Sj-FABPc and others in the family are important in interactions with membranes or other cellular components.
- cytosolic lipid-binding proteins
- fluorescent lipid analogues
- portal region
- tryptophan fluorescence
- The Biochemical Society, London © 2000