Ultraviolet resonance Raman spectroscopy of folded and unfolded states of an integral membrane protein

J Phys Chem B. 2008 Aug 7;112(31):9507-11. doi: 10.1021/jp800772j. Epub 2008 Jun 28.


The vibrational structure of native anchoring tryptophan (Trp) and tyrosine residues in an integral membrane protein, bacterial outer membrane protein A (OmpA), have been investigated using UV resonance Raman (UVRR) spectroscopy for the first time. Spectra of native OmpA, a single-Trp mutant, and a Trp-less mutant were recorded in folded and unfolded states, and reveal significant changes in tryptophan structure and local environment. Salient alterations upon folding include loss of hydrogen-bonding character of indole N1H, evidenced by a shift in W17 frequency from 874 and 878 cm(-1), and growth in hydrophobicity of the local tryptophan environment, supported by increase in the ratio I1361/I1340. In addition to these site-specific changes in a single tryptophan residue, modification of the vibrational structure of the remaining native tryptophan and tyrosine amino acids is also evident. Finally, the UVRR data presented here indicate that the structures of OmpA folded in vesicle and folded in detergent may differ, and provide important foundations for ongoing studies of membrane protein folding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Protein Folding*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • OMPA outer membrane proteins