Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Protein Sci. 2013 Apr;22(4):475-85. doi: 10.1002/pro.2234. Epub 2013 Mar 8.

Non-allosteric enzyme switches possess larger effector-induced changes in thermodynamic stability than their non-switch analogs.

Author information

Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21212, USA.


The ability to regulate cellular protein activity offers a broad range of biotechnological and biomedical applications. Such protein regulation can be achieved by modulating the specific protein activity or through processes that regulate the amount of protein in the cell. We have previously demonstrated that the nonhomologous recombination of the genes encoding maltose binding protein (MBP) and TEM1 β-lactamase (BLA) can result in genes that confer maltose-dependent resistance to β-lactam antibiotics even though the encoded proteins are not allosteric enzymes. We showed that these phenotypic switches-named based on their conferral of a switching phenotype to cells-resulted from a specific interaction with maltose in the cell that increased the switches cellular accumulation. Since phenotypic switches represent an important class of engineered proteins for basic science and biotechnological applications in vivo, we sought to elucidate the phenomena behind the increased accumulation and switching properties. Here, we demonstrate the key role for the linker region between the two proteins. Experimental evidence supports the hypothesis that in the absence of their effector, some phenotypic switches possess an increased rate of unfolding, decreased conformational stability, and increased protease susceptibility. These factors alone or in combination serve to decrease cellular accumulation. The effector functions to increase cellular accumulation by alleviating one or more of these defects. This perspective on the mechanism for phenotypic switching will aid the development of design rules for switch construction for applications and inform the study of the regulatory mechanisms of natural cellular proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center