Alkylamine derivatives of cytochrome c. Comparison with other lysine-modified analogues illuminates structure/function relations in the protein

Eur J Biochem. 1987 Dec 30;170(1-2):293-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-1033.1987.tb13698.x.


For investigations of the functional roles of the lysine residues of cytochrome c, analogues in which these residues are modified without charge loss are highly desirable. The 19 lysine residues of the horse heart protein have been modified by reductive alkylation. Two analogues were prepared, using formaldehyde and acetone as the dialkylating and monoalkylating reagent respectively. Modification was shown to be clean and quantitative. Characterisation of the alkylamine derivatives by physicochemical measurements and biological activity determinations was carried out. The potential of these analogues in structure/function studies of cytochrome c is discussed. It is illustrated by their use, in conjunction with other lysine-modified derivatives, to investigate the extent to which surface charge determines redox potential, and to study the physicochemical changes that accompany rising pH. In the latter case the observed phenomena are not as closely correlated as previously thought, suggesting that there is a complex set of rearrangements of structure underlying the functional changes. The data confirm that modification of the lysine residues influences these changes. These residues participate in numerous surface intramolecular links, so the lack of correlation may be explained if each of the changing parameters were under the influence of a different set of residues. However, neither a lysine residue, nor a histidine residue directly displaces methionine from the sixth coordination position of the haem iron at alkaline pH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkylation
  • Amines
  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Animals
  • Cytochrome c Group / isolation & purification
  • Cytochrome c Group / metabolism*
  • Horses
  • Kinetics
  • Lysine
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tuna


  • Amines
  • Amino Acids
  • Cytochrome c Group
  • Lysine