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The role of membrane properties in Mistic folding and dimerisation

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Membranes not only provide cellular compartmentalization but influence protein behavior and folding by virtue of the multitude of different lipid types. We have studied the impact of lipid composition on the folding of the membrane-associated protein Mistic from B. subtilis. We use dimerisation via the single Cys3 residue as monitor for the degree of correct folding, since mis- or unfolding will expose the otherwise buried Cys3. We find great variability in how lipids affect protein production and dimerization, ranging from high production and low dimerization via increased production and higher dimerization to low production and low dimerization. Phosphocholine (PC) vesicles, in particular di-oleoyl-PC, lead to the highest production levels. Shorter chain lengths lead to reduced production but higher levels of dimerization. Different lipids may promote correct folding of Mistic to different extents, mediated by proper hydrophobic matching (attained for long-chain but not short-chain PC vesicles) and the existence of a fluid phase (the gel phase reduces production as well as dimerization, probably by immobilizing Mistic on the surface). The very fact that different lipids have an effect indicates that Mistic behaves like a bona fide membrane protein with a clear preference for membranes of a certain thickness and flexibility.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProtein Engineering Design and Selection (Print)
Pages (from-to)89-97
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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