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Annu Rev Microbiol. 1997;51:179-202.

Making and breaking disulfide bonds.

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Centre Médical Universitaire, Département de Biochimie Médicale, Genève, Switzerland.


It is now well established that protein folding requires the assistance of folding helpers in vivo. The formation or isomerization of disulfide bonds in proteins is a slow process requiring catalysis. In nascent polypeptide chains the cysteine residues are in the thiol form. The formation of the disulfide bonds usually occurs simultaneously with the folding of the polypeptide, which means in the endoplasmic reticulum of eukaryotes or in the periplasm of Gram-negative bacteria. In prokaryotes, the existence of redox proteins involved in the formation of disulfide bonds containing proteins has recently been revealed in the periplasm. The discovery of these redox proteins through various genetic approaches will be summarized, as well as the most recent insights regarding their biochemical and biological activities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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