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J Biol Chem. 1999 Aug 6;274(32):22217-24.

Single amino acid substitutions globally suppress the folding defects of temperature-sensitive folding mutants of phage P22 coat protein.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269-3125, USA.


The amino acid sequence of a polypeptide defines both the folding pathway and the final three-dimensional structure of a protein. Eighteen amino acid substitutions have been identified in bacteriophage P22 coat protein that are defective in folding and cause their folding intermediates to be substrates for GroEL and GroES. These temperature-sensitive folding (tsf) substitutions identify amino acids that are critical for directing the folding of coat protein. Additional amino acid residues that are critical to the folding process of P22 coat protein were identified by isolating second site suppressors of the tsf coat proteins. Suppressor substitutions isolated from the phage carrying the tsf coat protein substitutions included global suppressors, which are substitutions capable of alleviating the folding defects of numerous tsf coat protein mutants. In addition, potential global and site-specific suppressors were isolated, as well as a group of same site amino acid substitutions that had a less severe phenotype than the tsf parent. The global suppressors were located at positions 163, 166, and 170 in the coat protein sequence and were 8-190 amino acid residues away from the tsf parent. Although the folding of coat proteins with tsf amino acid substitutions was improved by the global suppressor substitutions, GroEL remained necessary for folding. Therefore, we believe that the global suppressor sites identify a region that is critical to the folding of coat protein.

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