Author(s): Kandror O, Goldberg AL
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Abstract Trigger factor (TF) in Escherichia coli is a molecular chaperone with remarkable properties: it has prolyl-isomerase activity, associates with nascent polypeptides on ribosomes, binds to GroEL, enhances GroEL's affinity for unfolded proteins, and promotes degradation of certain polypeptides. Because the latter effects appeared larger at 20 degrees C, we studied the influence of temperature on TF expression. Unlike most chaperones (e.g., GroEL), which are heat-shock proteins (hsps), TF levels increased progressively as growth temperature decreased from 42 degrees C to 16 degrees C and even rose in cells stored at 4 degrees C. Upon temperature downshift from 37 degrees C to 10 degrees C or exposure to chloramphenicol, TF synthesis was induced, like that of many cold-shock proteins. We therefore tested if TF expression might be important for viability at low temperatures. When stored at 4 degrees C, E. coli lose viability at exponential rates. Cells with reduced TF content die faster, while cells overexpressing TF showed greater viability. Although TF overproduction protected against cold, it reduced viability at 50 degrees C, while TF deficiency enhanced viability at this temperature. By contrast, overproduction of GroEL/ES, or hsps generally, while protective against high temperatures, reduced viability at 4 degrees C, which may explain why expression of hsps is suppressed in the cold. Thus, TF represents an example of an E. coli protein which protects cells against low temperatures. Moreover, the differential induction of TF at low temperatures and hsps at high temperatures appears to provide selective protection against these opposite thermal extremes.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Proteomics & Bioinformatics