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Enzyme. 1991;45(5-6):314-21.

Intramolecular chaperone: the role of the pro-peptide in protein folding.

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Department of Biochemistry, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Rutgers, Piscataway.


Subtilisin, an alkaline serine protease, is produced in the bacterium as pre-pro-subtilisin; the pre-peptide of 29 amino acid residues is the signal peptide essential for the secretion of prosubtilisin from the cytoplasm into the culture medium. On the other hand, the pro-peptide of 77 residues covalently linked to the amino terminal end of the subtilisin intramolecularly guides the folding of subtilisin into the active enzyme. Importantly, the pro-peptide is not required for the enzymatic activity and is removed intramolecularly by autoprocessing upon the completion of the protein folding. In this review, I will first summarize all the data concerning the functions of the subtilisin pro-peptide. On the basis of these results, I shall discuss a new general concept, an intramolecular chaperone to explain the essential role of the pro-peptide in protein folding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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