Multiple parallel-pathway folding of proline-free staphylococcal nuclease

Kiyoto Kamagata, Yoriko Sawano, Masaru Tanokura, Kunihiro Kuwajima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


When a protein exhibits complex kinetics of refolding, we often ascribe the complexity to slow isomerization events in the denatured protein, such as cis/trans isomerization of peptidyl prolyl bonds. Does the complex folding kinetics arise only from this well-known reason? Here, we have investigated the refolding of a proline-free variant of staphylococcal nuclease by stopped-flow, double-jump techniques, to examine the folding reactions without the slow prolyl isomerizations. As a result, the protein folds into the native state along at least two accessible parallel pathways, starting from a macroscopically single denatured-state ensemble. The presence of intermediates on the individual folding pathways has revealed the existence of multiple parallel pathways, and is characterized by multi-exponential folding kinetics with a lag phase. Therefore, a "single" amino acid sequence can fold along the multiple parallel pathways. This observation in staphylococcal nuclease suggests that the multiple folding may be more general than we have expected, because the multiple parallel-pathway folding cannot be excluded from proteins that show simpler kinetics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1143-1153
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Oct 3


  • Double-jump
  • Intermediate
  • Isomerization
  • Pathway
  • Protein folding


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