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Temperature dependence of the phosphorescence quantum yield of various alpha-lactalbumins and of hen egg-white lysozyme

, : Temperature dependence of the phosphorescence quantum yield of various alpha-lactalbumins and of hen egg-white lysozyme. Biophysical Journal 64(6): 1885-1895

The radiative quantum yield, phi op, of the triplet state of human alpha-lactalbumin (HLA) has been measured in the temperature range between 6 K and the softening point of the aqueous glass (approximately 150 K). phi op has little temperature dependence below approximately 30 K, but above this it decreases sharply with increasing temperature. The unusual temperature dependence is fitted by a phenomenological two-state model in which the phosphorescence originates primarily from a donor, tryptophan (Trp) 104, and an acceptor, Trp 60, the populations of which are coupled by a thermally activated triplet-triplet energy transfer process. The model assumes that the acceptor (Trp 60) triplet state undergoes radiationless deactivation by a proximal disulfide residue, while the donor (Trp 104) has no such extrinsic quencher. The decrease of phi op with increasing temperature is accounted for by the thermally activated triplet-triplet energy transfer process. The disulfide quenching rate constant itself is assumed to be temperature independent, in accord with recent measurements of simple disulfide quenching in long chain snake venom neurotoxins (Schlyer, B. D., E. Lau, and A. H. Maki. 1992. Biochemistry. 31:4375-4383; Li, Z., A. Bruce, and W. C. Galley. 1992. Biophys. J. 61:1364-1371). We find that the phosphorescence quenching in HLA occurs with an activation energy of 97 cm-1, which we associate with a barrier to the energy transfer process. The data are fit well by the model if we assume a value for the temperature-independent disulfide quenching constant of kQ > 3 s-1 that is consistent with recent measurements on indole-disulfide model systems (Li, Z., A. Bruce, and W. C. Galley. 1992. Biophys. J. 61:1364-1371). Similar results are reported for bovine alpha-lactalbumin (BLA) and for hen egg-white lysozyme (HEWL) that contains the structural equivalents of Trp 104 and Trp 60 of HLA. HLA provides the best agreement with calculations since it is the simplest, lacking Trp 26, a residue not considered in the model, that probably contributes significantly to the phosphorescence of BLA, guinea pig alpha-lactalbumin (GPLA), and HEWL. GPLA, which contains Trp 104 but lacks Trp 60, shows qualitatively less thermally induced phosphorescence quenching than HLA, BLA, and HEWL, thus supporting the postulated quenching model.


PMID: 8369413

DOI: 10.1016/S0006-3495(93)81560-1

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