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J Mol Biol. 1993 Aug 20;232(4):1176-96.

On the biosynthesis of bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (BPTI). Structure, processing, folding and disulphide bond formation of the precursor in vitro and in microsomes.

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  • 1European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.


The natural gene for bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (BPTI) was expressed by in vitro transcription/translation systems as the 100-residue pre-proBPTI, with a signal peptide for translocation into the endoplasmic reticulum. Expression in the presence of microsomes defined the site of co-translational cleavage of the signal peptide. The resulting proBPTI in the microsomes consists of the 58 residues of mature BPTI, plus an additional 13 residues at the N terminus, including a cysteine residue at position -10, and seven residues at the C terminus. ProBPTI remained in the unfolded, reduced form within microsomes when synthesized under reducing conditions, but folded and formed disulphide bonds rapidly when the disulphide form of glutathione was added. Complete folding could occur within about one minute, even when residue Cys10 was replaced by Ser. The structure of proBPTI was determined by circular dichroism and two-dimensional NMR and found to be that of mature BPTI with flexible extensions on both termini. Its inhibition of the activity of alpha-chymotrypsin was indistinguishable from that of the mature protein. The extensions of the precursor appeared to play only very minor roles in refolding in vitro under conditions where folding and disulphide bond formation are coupled. Under pH and redox conditions thought to reflect those in vivo, complete folding and disulphide bond formation required several hours. Addition of protein disulphide isomerase to in vitro folding experiments caused substantial and similar increases in the rate of formation of the fully folded state for both mature BPTI and proBPTI; the half time for folding to the native state was reduced to approximately two minutes, which is comparable to that occurring in microsomes. The absence of substantial effects of the N and C-terminal extensions on the protein structure, inhibitor activity and refolding leaves their functional roles to be discovered.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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