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J Biol Chem. 2005 Apr 1;280(13):12344-50. Epub 2005 Jan 24.

The N-terminal domain of PILB from Neisseria meningitidis is a disulfide reductase that can recycle methionine sulfoxide reductases.

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UMR CNRS-UHP 7567, Maturation des ARN et Enzymologie Moléculaire, Faculté des Sciences, Bld des Aiguillettes, BP 239, 54506 Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France.


The PilB protein of the Neisseria genus comprises three domains. Two forms have been recently reported to be produced in vivo. One form, containing the three domains, is secreted from the bacterial cytoplasm to the outer membrane, whereas the second form, which is cytoplasmic, only contains the central and the C-terminal domains. The secreted form was shown to be involved in survival under oxidative conditions. Although previous studies indicated that the central and the C-terminal domains display methionine sulfoxide reductase A and B activities, respectively, no function was described so far for the N-terminal domain. In the present study, the N-terminal domain of the PilB of Neisseria meningitidis was produced as a folded entity, and its biochemical and enzymatic properties have been determined. The data show that the N-terminal domain possesses a disulfide redox-active site with a redox potential in the range of that of thioredoxin. Moreover, the N-terminal domain, either as an isolated form or included in PilB, recycles the oxidized forms of the methionine sulfoxide reductases like thioredoxin. These results, which show that the N-terminal domain exhibits a disulfide reductase activity and probably has a thioredoxin-fold, are discussed in relation to its possible functional role in Neisseria.

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