Biophysical and stabilization studies of the Chlamydia trachomatis mouse pneumonitis major outer membrane protein

Mol Pharm. 2009 Sep-Oct;6(5):1553-61. doi: 10.1021/mp900110q.


Native Chlamydia trachomatis mouse pneumonitis major outer membrane protein (nMOMP) induces effective protection against genital infection in a mouse challenge model. The conformation of nMOMP is crucial to confer this protective immunity. To achieve a better understanding of the conformational behavior and stability of nMOMP, a number of spectroscopic techniques are employed to characterize the secondary structure (circular dichroism), tertiary structure (intrinsic fluorescence) and aggregation properties (static light scattering and optical density) as a function of pH (3-8) and temperature (10-87.5 degrees C). The data are summarized in an empirical phase diagram (EPD) which demonstrates that the thermal stability of nMOMP is strongly pH-dependent. Three distinctive regions are seen in the EPD. Below the major thermal transition regions, nMOMP remains in its native conformation over the pH range of 3-8. Above the thermal transitions, nMOMP appears in two different structurally altered states; one at pH 3-5 and the other at pH 6-8. The EPD shows that the highest thermal transition point ( approximately 65 degrees C) of nMOMP is near pH 6. Several potential excipients such as arginine, sodium citrate, Brij 35, sucrose and guanidine are also selected to evaluate their effects on the stability of nMOMP. These particular compounds increase the aggregation onset temperature of nMOMP by more than 10(omicron)C, without affecting its secondary and tertiary structure. These results should help formulate a vaccine using a recombinant MOMP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Chlamydia Infections / immunology
  • Chlamydia Infections / prevention & control
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / chemistry*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / immunology*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / pathogenicity
  • Circular Dichroism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mice
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / immunology
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / prevention & control
  • Porins / chemistry*
  • Porins / immunology*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Stability
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Thermodynamics


  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Porins
  • omp1 protein, Chlamydia trachomatis