Insights Into Oxidative Folding Of Retinol Binding Protein In The Endoplasmic Reticulum : A Study In Isolated Microsomes
The central role played by the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) in the correct folding and assembly of secretary and membrane proteins cannot be overstated. As the first compartment in the secretary pathway, it is responsible for the synthesis, modification and targeting of proteins to their proper destinations within the secretary pathway and the extracellular space. Protein folding in this specialized compartment is dynamic and involves a host of molecular chaperones and folding catalysts. Once inside the ER lumen, proteins fold into their native conformation and undergo a multitude of post-translational modifications, including N-linked glycosylation and disulfide oxidation. The proper conformational maturation of nascent proteins that traverse the secretary pathway is both aided and monitored by a complex process termed ER quality control. A variety of quality control mechanisms that rely on the chaperone systems operate in the ER. These act in close concert with the molecular machinery involved in degradation of non-native proteins to maintain homeostasis. The common goal of these mechanisms is to prevent expression and secretion of misfolded proteins. As a general rule, only those proteins that have successfully completed their folding and passed a stringent selection process are allowed to exit the ER on their way to their final destinations. The importance of the normal functioning of the ER is underlined by the fact that disruption in protein folding, resulting in ER stress, has now been identified as the biochemical basis of many ER storage diseases including Diabetes mellitus, Endocrinopathies and Hemophilia A. Processing events occurring inside the ER lumen are known to influence the efficiency of protein secretion. Vastly different rates of exocytose observed among secretary proteins have been found to correlate with the rate of exit from the ER. One such example is the interesting secretion property exhibited by Retinol Binding Protein (RBP) The principal carrier of retinol (Vitamin A) in plasma. RBP is a single domain protein consisting of three intramolecular disulfide bonds and helps transport retinol from the liver stores to the various target tissues in the body. Availability of its ligand, retinol, while not affecting its synthesis, is known to be the major factor in regulating RBP secretion from the liver. In the absence of retinol, apo-RBP has been shown to be retained in the ER by a hitherto unclear mechanism. Like most other secretary proteins, RBP is co-translationally targeted to the ER lumen, where it undergoes disulfide oxidation as the only modification. It has been shown to form a complex with another secretary protein, Transthyretin (TTR) in the ER and this complex formation is thought to prevent premature glomerular filtration of the otherwise small RBP with its bound retinol. Despite attaining a mature conformation, apo-RBP is not secreted and awaits conversion to its ligand-bound, holo form in order to exit the ER. It is widely believed that ligand binding may relieve this retention of RBP from the ER quality control machinery. However the precise mechanisms that mediate and regulate RBP folding, ligand binding, TTR assembly and secretion are not clearly understood. Though the folding and secretion properties of RBP have been described in HepG2 cells, its interactions with the ER resident chaperones have not been addressed. Apart from being an important cell biological question, the study of RBP assumes a lot of significance with its recent emergence as a key player in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus. It has been proposed that lowering of serum RBP levels could be a new strategy for treating type 2 diabetes mellitus. The present study was undertaken with the intention of analyzing the oxidative folding of RBP in the ER more closely. A systematic approach aimed at understanding the early events associated with folding and maturation of RBP, with particular emphasis on the role of ER-resident chaperones and the quality control machinery, is likely to provide interesting insights into the mechanisms involved in its ligand dependent secretion. Reconstitution of RBP biogenesis in a cell free system. The folding of RBP in cells is extremely quick with rapid oxidation kinetics. This makes it difficult to systematically analyze the early folding events in cultured cells. It was necessary to make use of a simplified system that would faithfully recapitulate the folding process in the ER. Therefore, a cell free translation system consisting of rabbit reticulocyte lysate and canine pancreatic microcosms as a source of ER-derived membranes was developed. This system affords the advantage of easy manipulation while still preserving the overall environment that prevails in the ER of intact cells. Extensive biochemical and functional characterization of the isolated microcosms was carried out and in vitro translation and microsomal translocation of RBP was established. Though initially confined to studies on membrane insertion and core glycosylate, the cell free system supplemented with microcosms has subsequently been used to analyze folding and assembly of a number of secretary and membrane proteins. A similar strategy has been adopted in the present study of RBP folding and maturation. Oxidative folding of RBP in isolated microcosms: Delineation of its disulfide oxidation pathway Using glutathione (GSSG) as the oxidant, co- and posttranslational disulfide oxidation of RBP was carried out in isolated microcosms. The ability to manipulate the redox status of this cell free system has helped to considerably slow down the oxidative folding of RBP so that a more careful analysis of the folding process could be performed. RBP was found to undergo oxidative folding with a t1/2 of 30 minutes and folding proceeded through at least one disulfide-bonded intermediate. Non-reducing SDS PAGE was used to resolve the folding intermediates. The pattern of oxidation was in good agreement with that reported earlier in HepG2 cells. No significant effect of retinol was observed on either the folding kinetics or the pattern of disulfide oxidation of RBP in isolated microsomes.A DTT sensitivity assay, used to probe the conformational maturity of folding RBP, revealed that RBP was capable of maturing into a DTT-resistant conformation in isolated microsomes. With the aid of disulfide mutants, the probable disulfide oxidation pathway of RBP in the ER has been determined. Single and double disulfide mutants of RBP were generated by site-directed mutagenesis and their posttranslational oxidation patterns were analyzed and compared with that of the wild type protein. Based on the results obtained, it was clear that the folding intermediate was made up of one of the two big disulfide loops and that the presence of both these loops was essential for RBP to fold into a fully oxidized, compact form. It has not been possible to determine the contribution of the third, smallest disulfide loop to the oxidative folding of RBP. Molecular events associated with the early oxidative folding of RBP To gain insights into the possible role of ER chaperones in the oxidative folding of RBP, the oligomeric state of folding RBP was analyzed by velocity sedimentation and chemical crosslinking assays. Velocity sedimentation analysis revealed that the reduced form of RBP was present in a large complex of size >100 S20,W. Upon disulfide oxidation, it readily dissociated from the complex and assumed a monomeric state. This was evident even during co-translational oxidation which suggested that RBP transiently associated with the large complex during its oxidative folding. Dynamic nature of this complex indicated that this could be a folding complex containing the chaperone machinery of the ER. These results were also supported by crosslinking analysis performed in unbroken microsomes using the homo-bifunctional crosslinker, DSP. The early folding forms of RBP could be crosslinked to a large complex while upon disulfide oxidation, RBP matured to its monomeric form and was no longer crosslinkable. Sedimentation and crosslinking analyses of the RBP disulfide mutants revealed that while the double disulfide mutant remained irreversibly associated with the large complex, the single mutants were released upon acquiring one of the two big disulfide loops. This suggested that despite the lack of one of the two major disulfides, these mutants were considered ‘folded’ by the quality control machinery in the ER while the double mutant probably resembled a molten globule state and was therefore considered ‘unfolded’ and irreversibly retained. Results from crosslinking analysis in microsomes not engaged in active translation suggested that chaperones of the ER were organized in a complex constitutively thereby lending support to the concept of ER-matrix, a large network of luminal proteins consisting of ER chaperones and accessory factors. Given this scenario, it is not unlikely that newly synthesized protein substrates transiently associate with this large pre-existing complex of chaperones and dissociate during late stages of their maturation. Conclusion In all, this study provides significant insights into some of the early events associated with the oxidative folding of RBP in the ER. The delineation of the disulfide oxidation pathway of RBP has been possible. The results obtained from this study suggest that RBP probably dissociates from the quality control quite early during its folding process and this step in its maturation might not be influenced by retinol. The stimulus for its ligant dependent secretion is likely to operate at a later stage of its sojourn in the ER, possibly consequent to positive cues from accessory binding factors such as TTR. Lastly, Perservation of the ER microenvironment in isolated microsomes, as evidenced from this study, augurs well for the use of this system to analyze mechanisms underlying folding, maturation, secretion and/or retention of secretory proteins.
- Biochemistry (BC)