Author(s): Yu X, Kong Y, Dore LC, Abdulmalik O, Katein AM,
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Abstract Erythrocyte precursors produce abundant alpha- and beta-globin proteins, which assemble with each other to form hemoglobin A (HbA), the major blood oxygen carrier. alphaHb-stabilizing protein (AHSP) binds free alpha subunits reversibly to maintain their structure and limit their ability to generate reactive oxygen species. Accordingly, loss of AHSP aggravates the toxicity of excessive free alpha-globin caused by beta-globin gene disruption in mice. Surprisingly, we found that AHSP also has important functions when free alpha-globin is limited. Thus, compound mutants lacking both Ahsp and 1 of 4 alpha-globin genes (genotype Ahsp(-/-)alpha-globin*(alpha/alphaalpha)) exhibited more severe anemia and Hb instability than mice with either mutation alone. In vitro, recombinant AHSP promoted folding of newly translated alpha-globin, enhanced its refolding after denaturation, and facilitated its incorporation into HbA. Moreover, in erythroid precursors, newly formed free alpha-globin was destabilized by loss of AHSP. Therefore, in addition to its previously defined role in detoxification of excess alpha-globin, AHSP also acts as a molecular chaperone to stabilize nascent alpha-globin for HbA assembly. Our findings illustrate what we believe to be a novel adaptive mechanism by which a specialized cell coordinates high-level production of a multisubunit protein and protects against various synthetic imbalances.
This article was published in J Clin Invest
and referenced in Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis