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J Mol Biol. 2012 Aug 24;421(4-5):662-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2012.01.047. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

YajL, the prokaryotic homolog of the Parkinsonism-associated protein DJ-1, protects cells against protein sulfenylation.

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Stress Molecules, Institut Jacques Monod, Université Paris 7, 15 rue Hélène Brion, 75013 Paris, France.


YajL is the closest Escherichia coli homolog of the Parkinsonism-associated protein DJ-1, a multifunctional oxidative stress response protein whose biochemical function remains unclear. We recently described the oxidative-stress-dependent aggregation of proteins in yajL mutants and the oxidative-stress-dependent formation of mixed disulfides between YajL and members of the thiol proteome. We report here that yajL mutants display increased protein sulfenic acids levels and that formation of mixed disulfides between YajL and its protein substrates in vivo is inhibited by the sulfenic acid reactant dimedone, suggesting that YajL preferentially forms disulfides with sulfenylated proteins. YajL (but not YajL(C106A)) also forms mixed disulfides in vitro with the sulfenylated form of bovine serum albumin. The YajL-serum albumin disulfides can be subsequently reduced by glutathione or dihydrolipoic acid. We also show that DJ-1 can form mixed disulfides with sulfenylated E. coli proteins and with sulfenylated serum albumin. These results suggest that YajL and possibly DJ-1 function as covalent chaperones involved in the detection of sulfenylated proteins by forming mixed disulfides with them and that these disulfides are subsequently reduced by low-molecular-weight thiols.

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