Protein Structure and Folding
- Collagens play important roles in development and homeostasis in most higher organisms. In order to function, collagens require the specific chaperone HSP47 for proper folding and secretion. HSP47 is known to bind to the collagen triple helix, but the exact positions and numbers of binding sites are not clear. Here, we employed a collagen II peptide library to characterize high-affinity binding sites for HSP47. We show that many previously predicted binding sites have very low affinities due to the presence of a negatively charged amino acid in the binding motif.
- Systemic light chain (AL) amyloidosis is a fatal protein misfolding disease in which excessive secretion, misfolding, and subsequent aggregation of free antibody light chains eventually lead to deposition of amyloid plaques in various organs. Patient-specific mutations in the antibody VL domain are closely linked to the disease, but the molecular mechanisms by which certain mutations induce misfolding and amyloid aggregation of antibody domains are still poorly understood. Here, we compare a patient VL domain with its nonamyloidogenic germline counterpart and show that, out of the five mutations present, two of them strongly destabilize the protein and induce amyloid fibril formation.
- Small heat-shock proteins (sHsps) compose the most widespread family of molecular chaperones. The human genome encodes 10 different sHsps (HspB1–10). It has been shown that HspB1 (Hsp27), HspB5 (αB-crystallin), and HspB6 (Hsp20) can form hetero-oligomers in vivo. However, the impact of hetero-oligomerization on their structure and chaperone mechanism remains enigmatic. Here, we analyzed hetero-oligomer formation in human cells and in vitro using purified proteins. Our results show that the effect of hetero-oligomer formation on the composition of the sHsp ensembles and their chaperone activities depends strongly on the respective sHsps involved.
- The prototypical kinase c-Src plays an important role in numerous signal transduction pathways, where its activity is tightly regulated by two phosphorylation events. Phosphorylation at a specific tyrosine by C-terminal Src kinase inactivates c-Src, whereas autophosphorylation is essential for the c-Src activation process. However, the structural consequences of the autophosphorylation process still remain elusive. Here we investigate how the structural landscape of c-Src is shaped by nucleotide binding and phosphorylation of Tyr416 using biochemical experiments, hydrogen/deuterium exchange MS, and atomistic molecular simulations.
- Small heat shock proteins (sHsps) are a ubiquitous and ancient family of ATP-independent molecular chaperones. A key characteristic of sHsps is that they exist in ensembles of iso-energetic oligomeric species differing in size. This property arises from a unique mode of assembly involving several parts of the subunits in a flexible manner. Current evidence suggests that smaller oligomers are more active chaperones. Thus, a shift in the equilibrium of the sHsp ensemble allows regulating the chaperone activity.
- Protein folding is a spontaneous process. However, under physiological conditions, proteins are inherently unstable, and the protein concentrations in living cells favor unspecific interactions between partially folded proteins. Thus, the cellular proteome requires the assistance of helper factors, the molecular chaperones, for quality control and the maintenance of protein homeostasis. This series of reviews delves into how these molecular machines work in the eukaryotic cell, how they convey resilience to life, how these functions have allowed expansion of the protein universe, and how we can target them for therapeutic purposes.
- Despite their importance for antibody architecture and design, the principles governing antibody domain stability are still not understood in sufficient detail. Here, to address this question, we chose a domain from the invariant part of IgG, the CH2 domain. We found that compared with other Ig domains, the isolated CH2 domain is a surprisingly unstable monomer, exhibiting a melting temperature of ∼44 °C. We further show that the presence of an additional C-terminal lysine in a CH2 variant substantially increases the melting temperature by ∼14 °C relative to CH2 WT.
- The eukaryotic Hsp90 chaperone machinery comprises many co-chaperones and regulates the conformation of hundreds of cytosolic client proteins. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Hsp90 machinery has become an attractive therapeutic target for diseases such as cancer. The compounds used so far to target this machinery affect the entire Hsp90 system. However, it would be desirable to achieve a more selective targeting of Hsp90–co-chaperone complexes. To test this concept, in this-proof-of-principle study, we screened for modulators of the interaction between Hsp90 and its co-chaperone Aha1, which accelerates the ATPase activity of Hsp90.
- Small heat shock proteins (sHsps) are a ubiquitous family of molecular chaperones that suppress the unspecific aggregation of miscellaneous proteins. Multicellular organisms contain a large number of different sHsps, raising questions as to whether they function redundantly or are specialized in terms of substrates and mechanism. To gain insight into this issue, we undertook a comparative analysis of the eight major human sHsps on the aggregation of both model proteins and cytosolic lysates under standardized conditions.