Aims: Efficient oxidative protein folding (OPF) in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a key requirement of the eukaryotic secretory pathway. In particular, protein folding linked to the formation of disulfide bonds, an activity dependent on the enzyme protein disulfide isomerase (PDI), is crucial. For the de novo formation of disulfide bonds, reduced PDI must be reoxidized by an ER-located oxidase (ERO1). Despite some knowledge of this pathway, the kinetic parameters with which these components act and the importance of specific parameters, such as PDI reoxidation by Ero1, for the overall performance of OPF in vivo remain poorly understood. Results: We established an in vitro system using purified yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) PDI (Pdi1p) and ERO1 (Ero1p) to investigate OPF. This necessitated the development of a novel reduction/oxidation processing strategy to generate homogenously oxidized recombinant yeast Ero1p. This new methodology enabled the quantitative assessment of the interaction of Pdi1p and Ero1p in vitro by measuring oxygen consumption and reoxidation of reduced RNase A. The resulting quantitative data were then used to generate a simple model that can describe the oxidizing capacity of Pdi1p and Ero1p in vitro and predict the in vivo effect of modulation of the levels of these proteins. Innovation: We describe a model that can be used to explore the OPF pathway and its control in a quantitative way. Conclusion: Our study informs and provides new insights into how OPF works at a molecular level and provides a platform for the design of more efficient heterologous protein expression systems in yeast.
Keywords: ERO1; disulfide bond; endoplasmic reticulum; protein disulfide isomerase.