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J Biol Chem. 2004 Apr 30;279(18):19302-14. Epub 2004 Feb 19.

Structure-function analysis of PrsA reveals roles for the parvulin-like and flanking N- and C-terminal domains in protein folding and secretion in Bacillus subtilis.

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Vaccine Development Laboratory, National Public Health Institute, Mannerheimintie 166, FIN-00300 Helsinki, Finland.


The PrsA protein of Bacillus subtilis is an essential membrane-bound lipoprotein that is assumed to assist post-translocational folding of exported proteins and stabilize them in the compartment between the cytoplasmic membrane and cell wall. This folding activity is consistent with the homology of a segment of PrsA with parvulin-type peptidyl-prolyl cis/trans isomerases (PPIase). In this study, molecular modeling showed that the parvulin-like region can adopt a parvulin-type fold with structurally conserved active site residues. PrsA exhibits PPIase activity in a manner dependent on the parvulin-like domain. We constructed deletion, peptide insertion, and amino acid substitution mutations and demonstrated that the parvulin-like domain as well as flanking N- and C-terminal domains are essential for in vivo PrsA function in protein secretion and growth. Surprisingly, none of the predicted active site residues of the parvulin-like domain was essential for growth and protein secretion, although several active site mutations reduced or abolished the PPIase activity or the ability of PrsA to catalyze proline-limited protein folding in vitro. Our results indicate that PrsA is a PPIase, but the essential role in vivo seems to depend on some non-PPIase activity of both the parvulin-like and flanking domains.

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