TitleMechanistic insights into global suppressors of protein folding defects.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsChattopadhyay G, Bhowmick J, Manjunath K, Ahmed S, Goyal P, Varadarajan R
JournalPLoS Genet
Date Published2022 Aug
KeywordsCOVID-19, Humans, Mutation, Protein Folding, Proteins, SARS-CoV-2, Suppression, Genetic

Most amino acid substitutions in a protein either lead to partial loss-of-function or are near neutral. Several studies have shown the existence of second-site mutations that can rescue defects caused by diverse loss-of-function mutations. Such global suppressor mutations are key drivers of protein evolution. However, the mechanisms responsible for such suppression remain poorly understood. To address this, we characterized multiple suppressor mutations both in isolation and in combination with inactive mutants. We examined six global suppressors of the bacterial toxin CcdB, the known M182T global suppressor of TEM-1 β-lactamase, the N239Y global suppressor of p53-DBD and three suppressors of the SARS-CoV-2 spike Receptor Binding Domain. When coupled to inactive mutants, they promote increased in-vivo solubilities as well as regain-of-function phenotypes. In the case of CcdB, where novel suppressors were isolated, we determined the crystal structures of three such suppressors to obtain insight into the specific molecular interactions responsible for the observed effects. While most individual suppressors result in small stability enhancements relative to wildtype, which can be combined to yield significant stability increments, thermodynamic stabilisation is neither necessary nor sufficient for suppressor action. Instead, in diverse systems, we observe that individual global suppressors greatly enhance the foldability of buried site mutants, primarily through increase in refolding rate parameters measured in vitro. In the crowded intracellular environment, mutations that slow down folding likely facilitate off-pathway aggregation. We suggest that suppressor mutations that accelerate refolding can counteract this, enhancing the yield of properly folded, functional protein in vivo.

Alternate JournalPLoS Genet
PubMed ID36037221
PubMed Central IDPMC9491731
Grant List / WT_ / Wellcome Trust / United Kingdom
INV-005948 / GATES / Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation / United States