Background: A substitution mutation in human αA-crystallin (αAG98R) is associated with autosomal dominant cataract. The recombinant mutant αAG98R protein exhibits altered structure, substrate-dependent chaperone activity, impaired oligomer stability and aggregation on prolonged incubation at 37 °C. Our previous studies have shown that αA-crystallin-derived mini-chaperone (DFVIFLDVKHFSPEDLTVK) functions like a molecular chaperone by suppressing the aggregation of denaturing proteins. The present study was undertaken to determine the effect of αA-crystallin-derived mini-chaperone on the stability and chaperone activity of αAG98R-crystallin.
Methodology/principal findings: Recombinant αAG98R was incubated in presence and absence of mini-chaperone and analyzed by chromatographic and spectrometric methods. Transmission electron microscope was used to examine the effect of mini-chaperone on the aggregation propensity of mutant protein. Mini-chaperone containing photoactive benzoylphenylalanine was used to confirm the interaction of mini-chaperone with αAG98R. The rescuing of chaperone activity in mutantα-crystallin (αAG98R) by mini-chaperone was confirmed by chaperone assays. We found that the addition of the mini-chaperone during incubation of αAG98R protected the mutant crystallin from forming larger aggregates that precipitate with time. The mini-chaperone-stabilized αAG98R displayed chaperone activity comparable to that of wild-type αA-crystallin. The complexes formed between mini-αA-αAG98R complex and ADH were more stable than the complexes formed between αAG98R and ADH. Western-blotting and mass spectrometry confirmed the binding of mini-chaperone to mutant crystallin.
Conclusion/significance: These results demonstrate that mini-chaperone stabilizes the mutant αA-crystallin and modulates the chaperone activity of αAG98R. These findings aid in our understanding of how to design peptide chaperones that can be used to stabilize mutant αA-crystallins and preserve the chaperone function.