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Cell Stress Chaperones. 2019 Aug 13. doi: 10.1007/s12192-019-01028-5. [Epub ahead of print]

Co-expression of CCT subunits hints at TRiC assembly.

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Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Global Health Institute, School of Life Sciences, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (CSAIL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.


The eukaryotic cytosolic chaperonin, t-complex polypeptide 1 (TCP-1) ring complex or TRiC, is responsible for folding a tenth of the proteins in the cell. TRiC is a double-ringed barrel with each ring composed of eight different CCT (chaperonin containing TCP-1) subunits. In order for the subunits to assemble together into mature TRiC, which is believed to contain one and only one of each of these subunits per ring, they must be translated from different chromosomes, correctly folded and assembled. When expressed alone in Escherichia coli, the subunits CCT4 and CCT5, interestingly, form TRiC-like homo-oligomeric rings. To explore potential subunit-subunit interactions, we co-expressed these homo-oligomerizing CCT4 and CCT5 subunits or the archaeal chaperonin Mm-Cpn (Methanococcus maripaludis chaperonin) with CCT1-8, one at a time. We found that CCT5 shifted all of the CCT subunits, with the exception of CCT6, into double-barrel TRiC-like complexes, while CCT4 only interacted with CCT5 and CCT8 to form chaperonin rings. We hypothesize that these specific interactions may be due to the formation of hetero-oligomers in E. coli, although more work is needed for validation. We also observed the interaction of CCT5 and Mm-Cpn with smaller fragments of the CCT subunits, confirming their intrinsic chaperone activity. Based on this hetero-oligomer data, we propose that TRiC assembly relies on subunit exchange with some stable homo-oligomers, possibly CCT5, as base assembly units. Eventually, analysis of CCT arrangement in various tissues and at different developmental times is anticipated to provide additional insight on TRiC assembly and CCT subunit composition.


Assembly; CCT; Chaperonin; Hetero-oligomer; TRiC


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