The disulphide bond structure of thyroid-stimulating hormone β-subunit Academic Article uri icon


  • Previously only one of the six disulphide bonds within the β-subunit of bovine thyrotropin (bTSHβ) has been unequivocally assigned. In the present investigation, the fluorescent alkylating reagent 5-N-[(iodoacetamidoethyl)amino]naphthalene-1-sulphonic acid has been employed as part of a double-alkylation strategy to allow the relative reactivities and the location of the six disulphide bonds of bTSHβ, after selective reduction, to be assigned by using reversed-phase HPLC peptide mapping techniques and associated methods of structural analysis. The most reactive disulphide bond was Cys88–Cys95; the second most reactive group of disulphide bonds involved the half-cystine residues Cys16, Cys19, Cys67 and Cys105 with the experimental results consistent with the assignment of disulphide bonds to Cys16–Cys67 and Cys19–Cys105. The least reactive group of half-cystine residues consisted of Cys2, Cys27, Cys31, Cys52, Cys83 and Cys85. The isolation, by high-performance ion-exchange chromatography, of a partly reduced bTSHβ derivative in which only the half-cystine residues Cys31, Cys85, Cys88 and Cys95 were labelled enabled the assignment of a previously uncharacterized disulphide bond to Cys31–Cys85. The remaining two assignments, Cys2–Cys52 and Cys27–Cys83, were made by comparison with the recently published human chorionic gonadotropin crystal structure. The flexibility of the double-labelling approach used in these studies demonstrates that only very small quantities are required for proteins containing an extensive number of half-cystine residues such as TSHβ, owing to the combination of the high resolution of the reversed-phase HPLC peptide mapping procedures and the sensitivity of the fluorimetric detection method.

publication date

  • March 1, 1996