* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received September 27, 2007; Revision received October 17, 2007
The interaction of holo- and apo-forms of human alpha-lactalbumin with fatty acids was studied by a partition equilibrium method. Apo-alpha-lactalbumin, obtained by treatment with EDTA, displays one binding site for fatty acids, the association constants for oleic and palmitic acids being 1.9·106 and 4.2·105 M-1, respectively. However, holo-alpha-lactalbumin was unable to bind fatty acids as measured by this technique. Likewise, no fatty acids bound to holo-alpha-lactalbumin, isolated using nondenaturing conditions, were detected by gas chromatography. These results demonstrate that the conformational change induced in alpha-lactalbumin by the removal of calcium enables the protein to interact with fatty acids.
KEY WORDS: human alpha-lactalbumin, fatty acids, binding, partition equilibrium