The C-terminal domain of dimeric serine hydroxymethyltransferase plays a key role in stabilization of the quaternary structure and cooperative unfolding of protein: domain swapping studies with enzymes having high sequence identity.Protein Sci. 2004 Aug; 13(8):2184-95.PS
The serine hydroxymethyltransferase from Bacillus subtilis (bsSHMT) and B. stearothermophilus (bstSHMT) are both homodimers and share approximately 77% sequence identity; however, they show very different thermal stabilities and unfolding pathways. For investigating the role of N- and C-terminal domains in stability and unfolding of dimeric SHMTs, we have swapped the structural domains between bs- and bstSHMT and generated the two novel chimeric proteins bsbstc and bstbsc, respectively. The chimeras had secondary structure, tyrosine, and pyridoxal-5'-phosphate microenvironment similar to that of the wild-type proteins. The chimeras showed enzymatic activity slightly higher than that of the wild-type proteins. Interestingly, the guanidium chloride (GdmCl)-induced unfolding showed that unlike the wild-type bsSHMT, which undergoes dissociation of native dimer into monomers at low guanidium chloride (GdmCl) concentration, resulting in a non-cooperative unfolding of enzyme, its chimera bsbstc, having the C-terminal domain of bstSHMT was resistant to low GdmCl concentration and showed a GdmCl-induced cooperative unfolding from native dimer to unfolded monomer. In contrast, the wild-type dimeric bstSHMT was resistant to low GdmCl concentration and showed a GdmCl-induced cooperative unfolding, whereas its chimera bstbsc, having the C- terminal domain of bsSHMT, showed dissociation of native dimer into monomer at low GdmCl concentration and a GdmCl-induced non-cooperative unfolding. These results clearly demonstrate that the C-terminal domain of dimeric SHMT plays a vital role in stabilization of the oligomeric structure of the native enzyme hence modulating its unfolding pathway.