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Protein Folding Mediated by an Intramolecular Chaperone: Energy Landscape for Unimolecular Pro-Subtilisin E Maturation

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DOI: 10.4236/abb.2015.62008    3,584 Downloads   4,164 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Efficient and precise assembly of polypeptides into native functional states is critical for normal cellular processes. Understanding how a specific structure is encoded in the polypeptide sequence and what drives the structural progression to the native state is essential to deciphering the folding problem. Several prokaryotic and eukaryotic proteins require their propeptide-domains to function as dedicated intramolecular chaperones (IMCs). In this manuscript, we investigate the elementary steps in the IMC mediated maturation of Subtilisin E, a bacterial serine protease, and a prototype for the eukaryotic proprotein convertases (PCs). Through detailed analyses, we have attempted to define the unimolecular folding energy landscape for SbtE to understand how the stabilization of folding intermediates influences the maturation process, an aspect that is difficult to study in eukaryotic PCs. Our studies demonstrate that a rapid hydrophobic collapse precedes acquisition of tertiary structure during the folding of Pro-SbtE and results in formation of a molten-globule like intermediate. Induction of structure within the IMC stabilizes both the molten globule-like folding intermediate and the native state, and appears to expedite initial stages of folding, purely through thermodynamic stabilization of the folded state. While the induced structure does not affect the activation energies in the unimolecular folding reaction, it is detrimental to the autoproteolytic cleavage of the precursor and subsequent release and degradation of the inhibitory IMC-domain since both these stages require some degree of unfolding. Completion of Pro-SbtE maturation results in the formation of a kinetically trapped and extremely stable native state. Hence, our results suggest that the SbtE IMC appears to have evolved to be intrinsically unstructured and to bind with its cognate protease with a specific affinity that is critical for biological regulation.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Subbian, E. , Williamson, D. and Shinde, U. (2015) Protein Folding Mediated by an Intramolecular Chaperone: Energy Landscape for Unimolecular Pro-Subtilisin E Maturation. Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology, 6, 73-88. doi: 10.4236/abb.2015.62008.

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