The formation of disulfide bonds in proteins is an essential process in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. In gram-negative bacteria including Escherichia coli, the proteins DsbA and DsbB mediate the formation of disulfide bonds in the periplasm. DsbA acts as the periplasmic oxidant of periplasmic substrate proteins. DsbA is reoxidized by transfer of reducing equivalents to the 4 TM helix membrane protein DsbB, which transfers reducing equivalents to ubiquinone or menaquinone. Multiple structural studies of DsbB have provided detailed structural information on intermediates in the process of DsbB catalyzed oxidation of DsbA. These structures and the insights gained are described. In proteins with more than one pair of Cys residues, there is the potential for formation of non-native disulfide bonds, making it necessary for the cell to have a mechanism for the isomerization of such non-native disulfide bonds. In E. coli, this is mediated by the proteins DsbC and DsbD. DsbC reduces mis-formed disulfide bonds. The eight-TM-helix protein DsbD reduces DsbC and is itself reduced by cytoplasmic thioredoxin. DsbD also contributes reducing equivalents for the reduction of cytochrome c to facilitate heme attachment. The DsbD functional homolog CcdA is a six-TM-helix membrane protein that provides reducing equivalents for the reduction of cytochrome c. A recent structure determination of CcdA has provided critical insights into how reducing equivalents are transferred across the membrane that likely also provides understanding how this is achieved by DsbD as well. This structure and the insights gained are described.
Keywords: CcdA; DsbA; DsbB; DsbC; DsbD.
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