The CBS domain protein MJ0729 of Methanocaldococcus jannaschii is a thermostable protein with a pH-dependent self-oligomerization

Biochemistry. 2009 Mar 31;48(12):2760-76. doi: 10.1021/bi801920r.


CBS domains are small protein motifs, usually associated in tandems, that are involved in binding to adenosyl groups. In humans, several genetic diseases have been associated with mutations in CBS domains, and then, they can be considered as promising targets for the rational design of new drugs. However, there are no structural studies describing their oligomerization states, conformational preferences, and stability. In this work, the oligomerization state, the stability, and conformational properties of the CBS domain protein MJ0729 from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii were explored by using a combination of hydrodynamic (namely, ultracentrifugation, DLS, DOSY-NMR, and gel filtration) and spectroscopic techniques (fluorescence, circular dichroism, NMR, and FTIR). The results indicate that the protein had a pH-dependent oligomerization equilibrium: at pH 7, the dominant species is a dimer, where each monomer is a two-CBS domain protein, and at pH 4.5-4.8, the dominant species is a tetramer, with an oblong shape, as shown by X-ray. Deconvolution of the FTIR spectra indicates that the monomer at physiological pH has 26% alpha-helical structure and 17% beta-sheet, with most of the structure disordered. These results are similar to the percentages of secondary structure of the monomer in the resolved tetrameric X-ray structure (21% of alpha-helical structure and 7% of beta-sheet). At pH 2.5, there was a decrease in the level of secondary structure of the monomer, and formation of intermolecular hydrogen bonds, as shown by FTIR, suggesting the presence of high-molecular weight species. The physiological dimeric species is thermal and chemically very stable with a thermal midpoint of approximately 99 degrees C, as shown by both DSC and FTIR; the GdmCl chemical midpoint of the dimeric species occurs in a single step and was greater than 4 M.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Archaeal Proteins / chemistry*
  • Archaeal Proteins / metabolism
  • Calorimetry, Differential Scanning
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Methanococcales / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • Temperature*


  • Archaeal Proteins