Laser light-scattering evidence for an altered association of βB1-crystallin deamidated in the connecting peptide

Michael J. Harms, Phillip Wilmarth, Deborah M. Kapfer, Eric A. Steel, Larry David, Hans Peter Bächinger, Kirsten Lampi

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Deamidation is a prevalent modification of crystallin proteins in the vertebrate lens. The effect of specific sites of deamidation on crystallin stability in vivo is not known. Using mass spectrometry, a previously unreported deamidation in βB1-crystallin was identified at Gln146. Another deamidation was investigated at Asn157. It was determined that whole soluble βB1 contained 13%-17% deamidation at Gln146 and Asn157. Static and quasi-elastic laser light scattering, circular dichroism, and heat aggregation studies were used to explore the structure and associative properties of recombinantly expressed wild-type (wt) βB1 and the deamidated βB1 mutants, Q146E and N157D. Dimer formation occurred for wt βB1, Q146E, and N157D in a concentration-dependent manner, but only Q146E showed formation of higher ordered oligomers at the concentrations studied. Deamidation at Gln146, but not Asn157, led to an increased tendency of βB1 to aggregate upon heating. We conclude that deamidation creates unique effects depending upon where the deamidation is introduced in the crystallin structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)678-686
Number of pages9
JournalProtein Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004



  • Cataracts
  • Deamidation
  • Laser light-scattering
  • Lens crystallins
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Oligomer assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

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