The uncharged surface features surrounding the active site of Escherichia coli DsbA are conserved and are implicated in peptide binding
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DsbA is a protein-folding catalyst from the periplasm of Escherichia coli that interacts with newly translocated polypeptide substrate and catalyzes the formation of disulfide bonds in these secreted proteins. The precise nature of the interaction between DsbA and unfolded substrate is not known. Here, we give a detailed analysis of the DsbA crystal structure, now refined to 1.7 Å, and present a proposal for its interaction with peptide. The crystal structure of DsbA implies flexibility between the thioredoxin and helical domains that may be an important feature for the disulfide transfer reaction. A hinge point for domain motion is identified—the type IV β-turn Phe 63-Met 64-Gly 65-Gly 66, which connects the two domains. Three unique features on the active site surface of the DsbA molecule—a groove, hydrophobic pocket, and hydrophobic patch—form an extensive uncharged surface surrounding the active-site disulfide. Residues that contribute to these surface features are shown to be generally conserved in eight DsbA homologues. Furthermore, the residues immediately surrounding the active-site disulfide are uncharged in all nine DsbA proteins. A model for DsbA-peptide interaction has been derived from the structure of a human thioredoxin:peptide complex. This shows that peptide could interact with DsbA in a manner similar to that with thioredoxin. The active-site disulfide and all three surrounding uncharged surface features of DsbA could, in principle, participate in the binding or stabilization of peptide.
Biochemistry and Cell Biology not elsewhere classified