Monitoring oxidative folding of a single protein catalyzed by the disulfide oxidoreductase DsbA [Molecular Biophysics]

April 20th, 2015 by Kahn, T. B., Fernandez, J. M., Perez–Jimenez, R.

Oxidative folding, the process by which proteins fold and acquire disulfide bonds concurrently, is of critical importance for a wide range of biological processes. Generally, this process is catalyzed by oxidoreductase enzymes that facilitate oxidation and also bear chaperone functionality. While this process has been well described qualitatively, fine yet important details remain obscured by a limited quantitative perspective, arising from the limitations in the application of bulk biochemical methods to the study of oxidative folding. In this work, we have applied single-molecule force spectroscopy techniques to monitor in real-time the process of oxidative folding as catalyzed by DsbA, the enzyme solely responsible for the catalysis of oxidative folding in the bacterial periplasm. We provide a quantitative and detailed description of the catalytic mechanism utilized by DsbA that offers insight into the entire sequence of events that occurs in the periplasm from the unfolded-reduced state to the folded-oxidized protein. We have compared our results with those of PDI, the eukaryotic counterpart of DsbA, allowing us to devise a general mechanism for oxidative folding that also reflects upon the physiological functions and demands of these enzymes in vivo.