Linking an easily detectable phenotype to the folding of a common structural motif: Selection of rare turn mutations that prevent the folding of Rop

Luisa Castagnoli, Costantino Vetriani, Gianni Cesareni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rop is the simplest and most regular member of a family of proteins characterized by a bundle of four antiparallel helices. Rop is dimeric, each monomer being formed by two helices connected by a sharp bend. In this work we have extensively mutagenized three residues that form the connection between the two α-helices to ask whether the bend region contains any important folding information. The characterization of a collection of random mutants indicated that this structure is rather insensitive to amino acidsubstitutions and that most amino acids are toleratedin these positions by the Rop native structure. In order to identify the rare amino acid sequences that would prevent Rop from folding and/or dimerizing, we exploited the observation that Rop can functionally substitute the dimerization domain of the λ repressor. In fact plasmids expressing a hybrid protein formed by the amino-terminal domain of the λ repressor covalently linked to Rop, confer immunity toλ infection on their hosts. We have shown that this property depends on the ability of the Rop moietyto fold and dimerize. The analysis of 380 Rop mutantscontaining random amino acid sequences at positions 30, 31 and 32 allowed us to identify three mutant Rop proteins that are defective in dimerization, probablyas a consequence of their inability to fold. In thesemutants the tripeptides VED, VPD and YPD substitute the wild-type DAD at positions 30, 31 and 32. Other combinations of amino acids are found resulting in levels of immunity that are lower than the wild-type but still sufficient to prevent single plaque formation. This result suggests that a smaller proportion of thecorresponding Rop protein reaches a thermodynamic andproteolytically stable dimeric state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-387
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Volume237
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 7 1994
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

Keywords

  • Dimer
  • Four helix bundle
  • Gene fusion
  • Loops
  • Mutagenesis

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