Biochemical Characterization of Mutants in Chaperonin Proteins CCT4 and CCT5 Associated with Hereditary Sensory Neuropathy [Protein Structure and Folding]

August 14th, 2014 by Sergeeva, O. A., Tran, M. T., Haase-Pettingell, C., King, J. A.

Hereditary sensory neuropathies are a class of disorders marked by degeneration of the nerve fibers in the sensory periphery neurons. Recently, two mutations were identified in the subunits of the eukaryotic cytosolic chaperonin, TRiC, a protein machine responsible for folding actin and tubulin the cell. C450Y CCT4 was identified in a stock of Sprague-Dawley rats, while H147R CCT5 was found in a human Moroccan family. As with many genetically identified mutations associated with neuropathies, the underlying molecular basis of the mutants was not defined. We investigated the biochemical properties of these mutants using an expression system in E. coli that produces homo-oligomeric rings of CCT4 and CCT5. Full-length versions of both mutant protein chains were expressed in E. coli at levels approaching that of the wild-type (WT) chains. Sucrose gradient centrifugation revealed chaperonin-sized complexes of both WT and mutant chaperonins, but with reduced recovery of C450Y CCT4 soluble subunits. Electron microscopy of negatively stained samples of C450Y CCT4 revealed few ring-shaped species, while WT CCT4, H147R CCT5, and WT CCT5 revealed similar ring structures. CCT5 complexes were assayed for their ability to suppress aggregation of and refold the model substrate γD-crystallin, suppress aggregation of mutant huntingtin, and refold the physiological substrate β-actin in vitro. H147R CCT5 was not as efficient in chaperoning these substrates as WT CCT5. The subtle effects of these mutations is consistent with the homozygous disease phenotype, in which most functions are carried out during development and adulthood, but some selective function is lost or reduced.
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