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J Biol Chem. 1996 Nov 15;271(46):29060-6.

Immobilization of the C-terminal extension of bovine alphaA-crystallin reduces chaperone-like activity.

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1
Department of Biochemistry, University of Nijmegen, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands. w.dejong@bioch.kun.nl

Abstract

alpha-Crystallins occur as multimeric complexes, which are able to suppress precipitation of unfolding proteins. Although the mechanism of this chaperone-like activity is unknown, the affinity of alpha-crystallin for aggregation-prone proteins is probably based on hydrophobic interactions. alpha-Crystallins expose a considerable hydrophobic surface to solution, but nevertheless they are very stable and highly soluble. An explanation for this paradox may be that alpha-crystallin subunits have a polar and unstructured C-terminal extension that functions as a sort of solubilizer. In this paper we have described five alphaA-crystallins in which charged and hydrophobic residues were inserted in the C-terminal extension. Introduction of lysine, arginine, and aspartate does not substantially influence chaperone-like activity. In contrast, introduction of a hydrophobic tryptophan greatly diminishes functional activity. CD experiments indicate that this mutant has a normal secondary structure and fluorescence measurements show that the inserted tryptophan is located in a polar environment. However, NMR spectroscopy clearly demonstrates that the presence of the tryptophan residue dramatically reduces the flexibility of the C-terminal extension. Furthermore, the introduction of this tryptophan results in a considerably decreased thermostability of the protein. We conclude that changing the polarity of the C-terminal extension of alphaA-crystallin by insertion of a highly hydrophobic residue can seriously disturb structural and functional integrity.

PMID:
8910559
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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