Mechanism of the kinetically-controlled folding reaction of subtilisin.

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TitleMechanism of the kinetically-controlled folding reaction of subtilisin.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsFisher, KE, Ruan, B, Alexander, PA, Wang, L, Bryan, PN
Date Published2007 Jan 23
KeywordsBinding Sites, Calcium, Disulfides, Edetic Acid, Isomerism, Kinetics, Models, Molecular, Proline, Protein Folding, Protein Precursors, Protein Renaturation, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Subtilisin

Like many secreted proteases, subtilisin is kinetically stable in the mature form but unable to fold without assistance from its prodomain. The existence of high kinetic barriers to folding challenges many widely accepted ideas, namely, the thermodynamic determination of native structure and the sufficiency of thermodynamic stability to determine a pathway. The purpose of this article is to elucidate the physical nature of the kinetic barriers to subtilisin folding and to show how the prodomain overcomes these barriers. To address these questions, we have studied the bimolecular folding reaction of the subtilisin prodomain and a series of subtilisin mutants, which were designed to explore the steps in the folding reaction. Our analysis shows that inordinately slow folding of the mature form of subtilisin results from the accrued effects of two slow and sequential processes: (1) the formation of an unstable and topologically challenged intermediate and (2) the proline-limited isomerization of the intermediate to the native state. The low stability of nascent folding intermediates results in part from subtilisin's high dependence on metal binding for stability. Native subtilisin is thermodynamically unstable in the absence of bound metals. Because the two metal binding sites are formed late in folding, however, they contribute little to the stability of folding intermediates. The formation of productive folding intermediates is further hindered by the topological challenge of forming a left-handed crossover connection between beta-strands S2 and S3. This connection is critical to propagate the folding reaction. In the presence of the prodomain, folding proceeds through one major intermediate, which is stabilized by prodomain binding, independent of metal concentration and proline isomerization state. The prodomain also catalyzes the late proline isomerizations needed to form metal site B. Rate-limiting proline isomerization is common in protein folding, but its effect in slowing subtilisin folding is amplified because of the instability of the intermediate and an apparent need for simultaneous isomerization of multiple prolines in order to create metal site B. Thus, the kinetically controlled folding reaction of subtilisin, although unusual, is explained by the accrued effects of events found in other proteins.

Alternate JournalBiochemistry
PubMed ID17223686
Grant ListGM42560 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States