Formation of a Molten Globule Intermediate Early in the Kinetic Folding Pathway of Apomyoglobin

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Hydrogen exchange pulse labeling and stopped-flow circular dichroism were used to establish that the structure of the earliest detectable intermediate formed during refolding of apomyoglobin corresponds closely to that of a previously characterized equilibrium molten globule. This compact, cooperatively folded intermediate was formed in less than 5 milliseconds and contained stable, hydrogen-bonded secondary structure localized in the A, G, and H helices and part of the B helix. The remainder of the B helix folded on a much slower time scale, followed by the C and E helices and the CD loop. The data indicate that a molten globule intermediate was formed on the kinetic folding pathway.

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