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Mol Microbiol. 2002 Apr;44(1):1-8.

Oxidative protein folding in bacteria.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1048, USA.


Ten years ago it was thought that disulphide bond formation in prokaryotes occurred spontaneously. Now two pathways involved in disulphide bond formation have been well characterized, the oxidative pathway, which is responsible for the formation of disulphides, and the isomerization pathway, which shuffles incorrectly formed disulphides. Disulphide bonds are donated directly to unfolded polypeptides by the DsbA protein; DsbA is reoxidized by DsbB. DsbB generates disulphides de novo from oxidized quinones. These quinones are reoxidized by the electron transport chain, showing that disulphide bond formation is actually driven by electron transport. Disulphide isomerization requires that incorrect disulphides be attacked using a reduced catalyst, followed by the redonation of the disulphide, allowing alternative disulphide pairing. Two isomerases exist in Escherichia coli, DsbC and DsbG. The membrane protein DsbD maintains these disulphide isomerases in their reduced and thereby active form. DsbD is kept reduced by cytosolic thioredoxin in an NADPH-dependent reaction.

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