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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Biochemistry - Biophysics

Double Domain Swapping in Bovine Seminal RNase: Formation of Distinct N- and C-swapped Tetramers and Multimers with Increasing Biological Activities
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Author: Giovanni Gotte et al.

by Giovanni Gotte, Alexander Mahmoud Helmy, Carmine Ercole, Roberta Spadaccini, Douglas V. Laurents, Massimo Donadelli, Delia Picone

Bovine seminal (BS) RNase, the unique natively dimeric member of the RNase super-family, represents a special case not only for its additional biological actions but also for the singular features of 3D domain swapping. The native enzyme is indeed a mixture of two isoforms: M?=?M, a dimer held together by two inter-subunit disulfide bonds, and MxM, 70% of the total, which, besides the two mentioned disulfides, is additionally stabilized by the swapping of its N-termini. When lyophilized from 40% acetic acid, BS-RNase oligomerizes as the super-family proto-type RNase A does. In this paper, we induced BS-RNase self-association and analyzed the multimers by size-exclusion chromatography, cross-linking, electrophoresis, mutagenesis, dynamic light scattering, molecular modelling. Finally, we evaluated their enzymatic and cytotoxic activities. Several BS-RNase domain-swapped oligomers were detected, including two tetramers, one exchanging only the N-termini, the other being either N- or C-swapped. The C-swapping event, confirmed by results on a BS-K113N mutant, has been firstly seen in BS-RNase here, and probably stabilizes also multimers larger than tetramers. Interestingly, all BS-RNase oligomers are more enzymatically active than the native dimer and, above all, they display a cytotoxic activity that definitely increases with the molecular weight of the multimers. This latter feature, to date unknown for BS-RNase, suggests again that the self-association of RNases strongly modulates their biological and potentially therapeutic properties.