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J Biol Chem. 2010 May 21;285(21):15866-73. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.107722. Epub 2010 Mar 22.

Rescue of cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) mutants with chemical chaperones: purification and characterization of eight CBS mutant enzymes.

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Department of Pediatrics and the Colorado Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, School of Medicine, University of Colorado at Denver, Aurora, Colorado 80045, USA.


Missense mutations represent the most common cause of many genetic diseases including cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) deficiency. Many of these mutations result in misfolded proteins, which lack biological function. The presence of chemical chaperones can sometimes alleviate or even restore protein folding and activity of mutant proteins. We present the purification and characterization of eight CBS mutants expressed in the presence of chemical chaperones such as ethanol, dimethyl sulfoxide, or trimethylamine-N-oxide. Preliminary screening in Escherichia coli crude extracts showed that their presence during protein expression had a significant impact on the amount of recovered CBS protein, formation of tetramers, and catalytic activity. Subsequently, we purified eight CBS mutants to homogeneity (P49L, P78R, A114V, R125Q, E176K, P422L, I435T, and S466L). The tetrameric mutant enzymes fully saturated with heme had the same or higher specific activities than wild type CBS. Thermal stability measurements demonstrated that the purified mutants are equally or more thermostable than wild type CBS. The response to S-adenosyl-L-methionine stimulation or thermal activation varied. The lack of response of R125Q and E176K to both stimuli indicated that their specific conformations were unable to reach the activated state. Increased levels of molecular chaperones in crude extracts, particularly DnaJ, indicated a rather indirect effect of the chemical chaperones on folding of CBS mutants. In conclusion, the chemical chaperones present in the expression medium were able to fully restore the activity of eight CBS mutants by improving their protein folding. This finding could have direct implications for the development of a therapeutical approach to pyridoxine unresponsive homocystinuria.

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