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Open Access Research article

Analysis of the unique structural and physicochemical properties of the DraD/AfaD invasin in the context of its belonging to the family of chaperone/usher type fimbrial subunits

Rafał J Piątek1*, Piotr Bruździak2, Beata M Zalewska-Piątek1, Marek A Wojciechowski3, Justyna M Namieśnik1 and Józef W Kur1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology, Gdańsk University of Technology, ul. Narutowicza 11/12, 80-233 Gdańsk, Poland

2 Department of Physical Chemistry, Gdańsk University of Technology, ul. Narutowicza 11/12, 80-233 Gdańsk, Poland

3 Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Biochemistry, Gdańsk University of Technology, ul. Narutowicza 11/12, 80-233 Gdańsk, Poland

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BMC Structural Biology 2011, 11:25  doi:10.1186/1472-6807-11-25

Published: 16 May 2011

Abstract

Background

DraD invasin encoded by the dra operon possesses a classical structure characteristic to fimbrial subunits of the chaperone/usher type. The Ig-fold of the DraD possesses two major characteristics distinguishing it from the family of fimbrial subunits: 1) a distortion of the β-barrel structure in the region of the acceptor cleft, demonstrated by a disturbance of the main-chain hydrogen bonds network, and 2) an unusually located disulfide bond connecting B and F strands - the localization exclusively observed in the subfamily of DraD/AfaD-type subunits.

Results

To evaluate the influence of the DraD-sc specific structural features on its stability and mechanism of thermal denaturation, a series of DSC and FT-IR denaturation experiments were performed giving following conclusions. 1) The DraD-sc is characterized by a low stability (standard Gibbs free energy and enthalpy of unfolding of 18.4 ±1.4 kJ mol-1 and 131 ±25 kJ mol-1, respectively) that contrasts strongly with almost infinite stability of the described previously DraE-sc fimbrial protein. 2) The DraD-sc unfolds thermally according to the two state equilibrium model, in contrast to the irreversible kinetically controlled transition of the DraE-sc. 3) The DraD specific disulfide bond is crucial at the folding stage and has little stability effect in the mature protein.

Conclusions

Data published so far emphasize unique biological properties of the DraD invasin as fimbrial subunit: a chaperone independent folding, an usher independent surface localization and the possibility to exist in two forms: as unbound subunits and as loosely bound at fimbrial tip.

Presented calorimetric and FT-IR stability data combined with structural correlations has underlined that the DraD invasin is also characterized by unique physicochemical and structural attributes in the context of its belonging to the family of fimbrial subunits.