Role of Molecular Interactions and Oligomerization in Chaperone Activity of Recombinant Acr from Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Paper


Department of Biological Sciences, BITS Pilani KK Birla Goa Campus, Zuari Nagar, Goa 403726, Goa, India


Background: The chaperone activity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Acr is an important function that helps to prevent misfolding of protein substrates inside the host, especially in conditions of hypoxia.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to establish the correlation of structure and function of recombinant Acr proteins both before and after gel filtration chromatography. The aim was also to find the oligomeric conformation of these samples and use this information to explain differences in activity
Material and Methods: M. tuberculosis acr gene was cloned with an N-terminal His-tag in pET28a and expressed with IPTG induction in BL2 (DE3) competent Escherichia coli. The activity of a recombinant Acr without gel filtration was checked by preventing thermal aggregation of citrate synthase at 45°C and the chaperone activity against insulin B chain aggregation at 60°C and 37°C. On further purification using gel filtration chromatography, the protein was again tested for chaperone activity using insulin as substrate at 37°C with two types of samples without and with gel filtration designated A and B respectively. The effects of pre–heat treatment at 60 °C on chaperone activity of both A and B samples were studied by performing the chaperone assay at 37°C.
Results: The level of expression was 40 to 50 mg /l. The protein was expressed in a soluble form at 37°C and subsequently purified by a 3 step gradient of imidazole using Ni-NTA resin. Gel filtration chromatography showed recombinant Acr to be a mixture of 9 to 15-mers, whereas Native-PAGE analysis showed a large proportion of 5 and 7 mers in the non gel-filtered sample, while non gel –filtered samples showed more proportions of higher size oligomers. The chaperone activity of non gel-filtered (A) samples was less than gel-filtered (B) samples at 37°C with 24 µM required of A for complete inhibition as compared to 6 µM of B. The chaperone activity of non gel–filtered samples at 60°C showed complete inhibition of activity at a concentration of 44 µM. Molecular interaction studies showed influence of size of oligomers on molecular coverage of insulin B chain. Pre-heat treatment improved the activity only after the gel filtration.
Conclusions: The larger proportion of monomers in the non gel-filtered sample could explain the difference in activity as compared to the gel-filtered samples in terms of molecular interaction with insulin. Increased oligomer size favorably affected secondary structure, a finding not reported so far, and warranting further investigation. A molecular level interaction of inhibition was predicted using Avogadro number of molecules and oligomer size. The difference in activity after pre–heat treatment seemed to indicate an important role for oligomerization.


Main Subjects

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