DsbC protein family

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Disulfide bond isomerase protein N-terminus
PDB 1t3b EBI.jpg
x-ray structure of dsbc from haemophilus influenzae
Symbol DsbC_N
Pfam PF10411
InterPro IPR018950

DsbC (Disulfide bond C) is a prokaryotic disulfide bond isomerase. The formation of native disulfide bonds play an important role in the proper folding of proteins and stabilize tertiary structures of the protein.[1][2][3] DsbC is one of 6 proteins in the Dsb family in prokaryotes. The other proteins are DsbA, DsbB, DsbD, DsbE and DsbG.[4] These enzymes work in tandem with each other to form disulfide bonds during the expression of proteins. DsbC and DsbG act as proofreaders of the disulfide bonds that are formed. They break non-native disulfide bonds that were formed and act as chaperones for the formation of native disulfide bonds.[5][6] The isomerization of disulfide bonds occurs in the periplasm.

Enzyme Mechanism[edit]

DsbA, DsbC and DsbG have a common Cys-Xxx-Xxx-Cys (Cys-Cysteine) motif in their active site, where Xxx can be any any amino acid.[7] In the periplasm, DsbA oxidizes thiols in cysteines to form disulfide bonds in proteins. DsbA receives it’s oxidizing potential from the cytosol through DsbB.[6] However, the probability of forming a non-native disulfide bond increases with the number of cysteines in the protein sequence. This leads to improperly folded proteins.

DsbC and DsbG facilitate the proper folding of the protein by breaking non-native disulfide bonds. In addition to this, DsbC also shows chaperone activity.[1][3] The reduced cysteine on DsbC performs a nucleophilic attack on the target non-native disulfide bond, to form an unstable disulfide bond between DsbC and the protein. Another thiolate group in the protein then attacks this unstable bond. The final result would be the formation of a native disulfide bond and the reformation of the thiolate group in DsbC.[4][7][8] DsbG also acts with a similar mechanism, but has a higher selectivity when compared with DsbC.[9]

Both DsbC and DsbG receive their reducing power, through DsbD, from the cytosol.[6][10] DsbC and DsbG have be maintained in their reduced forms to ensure proper folding of proteins, with the formation of multiple disulfide bonds.[11]

Enzyme Structure[edit]

DsbC is a modular dimer, with two 23.3 kDa subunits. There are four cysteines in each monomer, with two present in the active site.

Modular dimer of DsbC. Each module shown in a different color. Generated from 1EEJ

The common motif is Cys98-Gly-Tyr-Cys101.[1][3][12] The fact that Cys 98 is partially solvent exposed supports the mechanism provided above.[12] DsbG has a sequence homology of 24% identity with DsbC, thus suggesting a similar structure with that of DsbC.[12]

The Cys98-Gly-Tyr-Cys101 chain in DsbC. Cys backbones are shown in green, with sulfur atoms colored yellow. Note that DsbC is in an oxidized state. Generated from 1EEJ

The structure of DsbC from E. coli as reported by McCarthy et al.[12] shows the cysteines in the oxidized state. In wild-type cells, both cysteines are in the reduced state.

Disease Relevance[edit]

Synthesis of proteins with multiple disulfide bonds is challenging due to formation of non-native disulfide bonds. This usually leads to insoluble, inactive proteins. Co-expressing DsbA and DsbC has shown to help express soluble proteins with even more than five disulfide bonds. Two examples of proteins with medical applications that were expressed using this approach are the expression of reteplase in E.Coli[4] and the functional expression of single chain Fv antibodies in E. Coli [1] Reteplase is used in the treatment of ischemic stroke and contains 9 disulfide bonds. Prior to co-expressing the protein with DsbA and DsbC, the soluble expression in vivo was very low due to improper disulfide bond formation. Protein obtained from this co-expression system was also reported to have 20 times the thrombolytic activity than previously reported.


  1. ^ a b c d Zhang, Zhong; Li, Zhi-Hua; Wang, Fei; Fang, Min; Yin, Chang-Cheng; Zhou, Zhi-Yong; Lin, Qing; Huang, Hua-Liang (November 2002). "Overexpression of DsbC and DsbG markedly improves soluble and functional expression of single-chain Fv antibodies in Escherichia coli". Protein Expression and Purification 26 (2): 218–228. doi:10.1016/S1046-5928(02)00502-8. 
  2. ^ Maskos, Klaus; Huber-Wunderlich, Martina; Glockshuber, Rudi (January 2003). "DsbA and DsbC-catalyzed Oxidative Folding of Proteins with Complex Disulfide Bridge Patterns In Vitro and In Vivo". Journal of Molecular Biology 325 (3): 495–513. doi:10.1016/S0022-2836(02)01248-2. 
  3. ^ a b c Chen, J. (9 July 1999). "Chaperone Activity of DsbC". Journal of Biological Chemistry 274 (28): 19601–19605. doi:10.1074/jbc.274.28.19601. 
  4. ^ a b c Zhuo, Xiao-Fa; Zhang, Yi-Ying; Guan, Yi-Xin; Yao, Shan-Jing (December 2014). "Co-expression of disulfide oxidoreductases DsbA/DsbC markedly enhanced soluble and functional expression of reteplase in Escherichia coli". Journal of Biotechnology 192: 197–203. doi:10.1016/j.jbiotec.2014.10.028. 
  5. ^ Nakamoto, Hitoshi; Bardwell, James C.A. (November 2004). "Catalysis of disulfide bond formation and isomerization in the Escherichia coli periplasm". Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Cell Research 1694 (1-3): 111–119. doi:10.1016/j.bbamcr.2004.02.012. 
  6. ^ a b c Kim, Jae Hoon; Kim, Seung Jun; Jeong, Dae Gwin; Son, Jeong Hee; Ryu, Seong Eon (May 2003). "Crystal structure of DsbDγ reveals the mechanism of redox potential shift and substrate specificity". FEBS Letters 543 (1-3): 164–169. doi:10.1016/S0014-5793(03)00434-4. 
  7. ^ a b Jiao, Li; Kim, Jin-Sik; Song, Woo-Seok; Yoon, Bo-Young; Lee, Kangseok; Ha, Nam-Chul (July 2013). "Crystal structure of the periplasmic disulfide-bond isomerase DsbC from Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and the mechanistic implications". Journal of Structural Biology 183 (1): 1–10. doi:10.1016/j.jsb.2013.05.013. 
  8. ^ Messens, Joris; Collet, Jean-François (January 2006). "Pathways of disulfide bond formation in Escherichia coli". The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology 38 (7): 1050–1062. doi:10.1016/j.biocel.2005.12.011. 
  9. ^ Andersen, Catherine L.; Matthey-Dupraz, Anne; Missiakas, Dominique; Raina, Satish (October 1997). "A new Esherichia coli gene, dsbG, encodes a periplasmic protein involved in disulphide bond formation, required for recycling DsbA/DsbB and DsbC redox proteins". Molecular Microbiology 26 (01): 121–132. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2958.1997.5581925.x. 
  10. ^ Joly, John C.; Swartz, James R. (August 1997). "In Vitro and in ViVo Redox States of the Escherichia coli Periplasmic Oxidoreductases DsbA and DsbC". Biochemistry 36 (33): 10067–10072. doi:10.1021/bi9707739. 
  11. ^ Rietsch, A; Bessette, P; Georgiou, G; Beckwith, J (November 1997). "Reduction of the periplasmic disulfide bond isomerase, DsbC, occurs by passage of electrons from cytoplasmic thioredoxin.". Journal of Bacteriology 179 (21): 6602–8. PMID 9352906. 
  12. ^ a b c d Metcalf, Peter; McCarthy, Andrew A.; Haebel, Peter W.; Törrönen, Anneli; Rybin, Vladimir; Baker, Edward N. (1 March 2000). "Crystal structure of the protein disulfide bond isomerase". Nature Structural Biology 7 (3): 196–199. doi:10.1038/73295. PMID 10700276. 

This article incorporates text from the public domain Pfam and InterPro IPR018950