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J Mol Biol. 1998 Apr 3;277(3):723-32.

Recognition of protein substrates by the prolyl isomerase trigger factor is independent of proline residues.

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Biochemisches Laboratorium, Universität Bayreuth, Bayreuth, D-95440, Germany.


The trigger factor is associated with bacterial ribosomes and catalyzes proline-limited protein folding reactions. Its folding activity is very high and conserved in evolution, as shown for the homologous enzymes from Escherichia coli and Mycoplasma genitalium. The folding protein substrate (a variant of ribonuclease T1) binds with high affinity to the trigger factors, and permanently unfolded proteins are strong, competitive inhibitors. We used this inhibition to characterize the substrate binding sites of the trigger factors. Unfolded alpha-lactalbumin binds very tightly and inhibits the trigger factor from M. genitalium with a KI value of 50 nM. The binding of inhibitory proteins is independent of proline residues, as shown for unfolded tendamistat, which binds to the trigger factor with equal affinity in the presence and in the absence of its three proline residues. The good inhibition by a non-folding variant of ribonuclease T1 that lacks Pro39 showed that this proline, at which the catalysis of folding occurs, is dispensable for substrate binding. The trigger factors cannot catalyze prolyl isomerization when proteins are partially folded already. They preferentially recognize unstructured protein chains, which bind with high affinity to a site distinct from the catalytic prolyl isomerase center in the FKBP domain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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