The α-defensin salt-bridge induces backbone stability to facilitate folding and confer proteolytic resistance

Andersson, Håkan S., Figueredo, Sharel M., Haugaard-Kedström, Linda M., Bengtsson, Elina, Daly, Norelle L., Qu, Xiaoqing, Craik, David J., Ouellette, André J., and Rosengren, K. Johan (2012) The α-defensin salt-bridge induces backbone stability to facilitate folding and confer proteolytic resistance. Amino Acids, 43 (4). pp. 1471-1483.

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Salt-bridge interactions between acidic and basic amino acids contribute to the structural stability of proteins and to protein–protein interactions. A conserved salt-bridge is a canonical feature of the α-defensin antimicrobial peptide family, but the role of this common structural element has not been fully elucidated. We have investigated mouse Paneth cell α-defensin cryptdin-4 (Crp4) and peptide variants with mutations at Arg7 or Glu15 residue positions to disrupt the salt-bridge and assess the consequences on Crp4 structure, function, and stability. NMR analyses showed that both (R7G)-Crp4 and (E15G)-Crp4 adopt native-like structures, evidence of fold plasticity that allows peptides to reshuffle side chains and stabilize the structure in the absence of the salt-bridge. In contrast, introduction of a large hydrophobic side chain at position 15, as in (E15L)-Crp4 cannot be accommodated in the context of the Crp4 primary structure. Regardless of which side of the salt-bridge was mutated, salt-bridge variants retained bactericidal peptide activity with differential microbicidal effects against certain bacterial cell targets, confirming that the salt-bridge does not determine bactericidal activity per se. The increased structural flexibility induced by salt-bridge disruption enhanced peptide sensitivity to proteolysis. Although sensitivity to proteolysis by MMP7 was unaffected by most Arg7 and Glu15 substitutions, every salt-bridge variant was degraded extensively by trypsin. Moreover, the salt-bridge facilitates adoption of the characteristic α-defensin fold as shown by the impaired in vitro refolding of (E15D)-proCrp4, the most conservative salt-bridge disrupting replacement. In Crp4, therefore, the canonical α-defensin salt-bridge facilitates adoption of the characteristic α-defensin fold, which decreases structural flexibility and confers resistance to degradation by proteinases.

Item ID: 27019
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1438-2199
Keywords: defensin, cryptdin-4, Crp4, salt-bridge, structure, folding, proteolytic stability
Date Deposited: 22 May 2013 00:46
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1101 Medical Biochemistry and Metabolomics > 110106 Medical Biochemistry: Proteins and Peptides (incl Medical Proteomics) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences @ 100%
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