Priyanka Biswas*, Dillip K. Sahu, Kalyanasis Sahu and Rajat Banerjee* Pages 435 - 448 ( 14 )
Background: Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases play an important role in catalyzing the first step in protein synthesis by attaching the appropriate amino acid to its cognate tRNA which then transported to the growing polypeptide chain. Asparaginyl-tRNA Synthetase (AsnRS) from Brugia malayi, Leishmania major, Thermus thermophilus, Trypanosoma brucei have been shown to play an important role in survival and pathogenesis. Entamoeba histolytica (Ehis) is an anaerobic eukaryotic pathogen that infects the large intestines of humans. It is a major cause of dysentery and has the potential to cause life-threatening abscesses in the liver and other organs making it the second leading cause of parasitic death after malaria. Ehis-AsnRS has not been studied in detail, except the crystal structure determined at 3 Å resolution showing that it is primarily α-helical and dimeric. It is a homodimer, with each 52 kDa monomer consisting of 451 amino acids. It has a relatively short N-terminal as compared to its human and yeast counterparts.
Objective: Our study focusses to understand certain structural characteristics of Ehis-AsnRS using biophysical tools to decipher the thermodynamics of unfolding and its binding properties.
Methods: Ehis-AsnRS was cloned and expressed in E. coli BL21DE3 cells. Protein purification was performed using Ni-NTA affinity chromatography, following which the protein was used for biophysical studies. Various techniques such as steady-state fluorescence, quenching, circular dichroism, differential scanning fluorimetry, isothermal calorimetry and fluorescence lifetime studies were employed for the conformational characterization of Ehis-AsnRS. Protein concentration for far-UV and near-UV circular dichroism experiments was 8 µM and 20 µM respectively, while 4 µM protein was used for the rest of the experiments.
Results: The present study revealed that Ehis-AsnRS undergoes unfolding when subjected to increasing concentration of GdnHCl and the process is reversible. With increasing temperature, it retains its structural compactness up to 45ºC before it unfolds. Steady-state fluorescence, circular dichroism and hydrophobic dye binding experiments cumulatively suggest that Ehis-AsnRS undergoes a two-state transition during unfolding. Shifting of the transition mid-point with increasing protein concentration further illustrate that dissociation and unfolding processes are coupled indicating the absence of any detectable folded monomer.
Conclusion: This article indicates that GdnHCl induced denaturation of Ehis-AsnRS is a two – state process and does not involve any intermediate; unfolding occurs directly from native dimer to unfolded monomer. The solvent exposure of the tryptophan residues is biphasic, indicating selective quenching. Ehis-AsnRS also exhibits a structural as well as functional stability over a wide range of pH.
Ehis-AsnRS, fluorescence, circular dichroism, two-state transition, acrylamide quenching, ITC.
Department of Biotechnology & Dr. B.C. Guha Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata - 700019, West Bengal, Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati 781039, Assam, Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati 781039, Assam, Department of Biotechnology & Dr. B.C. Guha Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata - 700019, West Bengal