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Intrinsic fluorescence of elongation factor Tu in its complexes with GDP and elongation factor Ts.


The intrinsic fluorescence properties of elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu) in its complexes with GDP and elongation factor Ts (EF-Ts) have been investigated. The emission spectra for both complexes are dominated by the tyrosine contribution upon excitation at 280 nm whereas excitation at 300 nm leads to exclusive emission from the single tryptophan residue (Trp-184) of EF-Tu. The fluorescence lifetime of this tryptophan residue in both complexes was investigated by using a multifrequency phase fluorometer which achieves a broad range of modulation frequencies utilizing the harmonic content of a mode-locked laser. These results indicated a heterogeneous emission with major components near 4.8 ns for both complexes. Quenching experiments on both complexes indicated limited accessibility of the tryptophan residue to acrylamide and virtually no accessibility to iodide ion. The quenching patterns exhibited by EF-Tu-GDP and EF-Tu X EF-Ts were, however, different; both quenchers were more efficient at quenching the emission from the EF-Tu x EF-Ts complex. Steady-state and dynamic polarization measurements revealed limited local mobility for the tryptophan in the EF-Tu x GDP complex whereas formation of the EF-Tu x EF-Ts complex led to a dramatic increase in this local mobility.

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