Aggregation of heat unstable wine proteins is responsible for the economically and technologically detrimental problem called wine protein haze. This is caused by the aggregation of thermally unfolded proteins that can precipitate in bottled wine. To study the influence of SO2 in this phenomenon, wine proteins were isolated and thaumatins were identified has the most prone to aggregate in the presence of this compound. Isolated wine thaumatins aggregation was followed by dynamic light scattering (DLS), circular dichroism (CD), fluorescence spectroscopy and size exclusion chromatography (SEC). Our experimental results demonstrate that protein thermal unfolding after exposure of the protein to 70 °C does not present differences whether SO2 is present or not. Conversely, when the protein solution is cooled to 15 °C (after heat stress) significant analytical changes can be observed between samples with and without SO2. A remarkable change of circular dichroism spectra in the region 220–230 nm is observed (which can be related to S-S torsion angles), as well as an increase in tryptophan fluorescence intensity (absence of fluorescence quenching by S-S bonds). Formation of covalently-linked dimeric and tetrameric protein species were also detected by SEC. The ability to dissolve the aggregates with 8 M urea seems to indicate that hydrophobic interactions are prevalent in the formed aggregates. Also, the reduction of these aggregates with tris (2-carboxyethyl) phosphine (TCEP) to only monomeric species reveals the presence of intermolecular S-S bonds.
- Protein aggregation
- Sulfur dioxide