Chaperone-assisted refolding of Escherichia coli maltodextrin glucosidase

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In vitro refolding of maltodextrin glucosidase, a 69 kDa monomeric Escherichia coli protein, was studied in the presence of glycerol, dimethylsulfoxide, trimethylamine-N-oxide, ethylene glycol, trehalose, proline and chaperonins GroEL and GroES. Different osmolytes, namely proline, glycerol, trimethylamine-N-oxide and dimethylsulfoxide, also known as chemical chaperones, assist in protein folding through effective inhibition of the aggregation process. In the present study, it was observed that a few chemical chaperones effectively reduced the aggregation process of maltodextrin glucosidase and hence the in vitro refolding was substantially enhanced, with ethylene glycol being the exception. Although, the highest recovery of active maltodextrin glucosidase was achieved through the ATP-mediated GroEL/GroES-assisted refolding of denatured protein, the yield of correctly folded protein from glycerol- or proline-assisted spontaneous refolding process was closer to the chaperonin-assisted refolding. It was also observed that the combined application of chemical chaperones and molecular chaperone was more productive than their individual contribution towards the in vitro refolding of maltodextrin glucosidase. The chemical chaperones, except ethylene glycol, were found to provide different degrees of protection to maltodextrin glucosidase from thermal denaturation, whereas proline caused the highest protection. The observations from the present studies conclusively demonstrate that chemical or molecular chaperones, or the combination of both chaperones, could be used in the efficient refolding of recombinant E. coli maltodextrin glucosidase, which enhances the possibility of identifying or designing suitable small molecules that can act as chemical chaperones in the efficient refolding of various aggregate-prone proteins of commercial and medical importance.

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