The kinetics of actin unfolding induced by guanidine hydrochloride has been studied. On the basis of obtained experimental data a new kinetic pathway of actin unfolding was proposed. We have shown that the transition from native to inactivated actin induced by guanidine hydrochloride (GdnHCl) passes through essential unfolding of the protein. This means that inactivated actin should be considered as the off-pathway species rather than an intermediate conformation between native and completely unfolded states of actin, as has been assumed earlier. The rate constants of the transitions that give rise to the inactivated actin were determined. At 1.0-2.0 M GdnHCl the value of the rate constant of the transition from native to essentially unfolded actin exceeds that of the following step of inactivated actin formation. It leads to the accumulation of essentially unfolded macromolecules early in the unfolding process, which in turn causes the minimum in the time dependencies of tryptophan fluorescence intensity, parameter A, characterizing the intrinsic fluorescence spectrum position, and tryptophan fluorescence anisotropy.
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