Are turns required for the folding of ribonuclease T1? Academic Article uri icon


  • Ribonuclease T1 (RNase T1) is a small, globular protein of 104 amino acids for which extensive thermodynamic and structural information is known. To assess the specific influence of variations in amino acid sequence on the mechanism for protein folding, circularly permuted variants of RNase T1 were constructed and characterized in terms of catalytic activity and thermodynamic stability. The disulfide bond connecting Cys-2 and Cys-10 was removed by mutation of these residues to alanine (C2, 10A) to avoid potential steric problems imposed by the circular permutations. The original amino-terminus and carboxyl-terminus of the mutant (C2, 10A) were subsequently joined with a tripeptide linker to accommodate a reverse turn and new termini were introduced throughout the primary sequence in regions of solvent-exposed loops at Ser-35 (cp35S1), Asp-49 (cp49D1), Gly-70 (cp70G1), and Ser-96 (cp96S1). These circularly permuted RNase T1 mutants retained 35-100% of the original catalytic activity for the hydrolysis of guanylyl(3'-->5')cytidine, suggesting that the overall tertiary fold of these mutants is very similar to that of wild-type protein. Chemical denaturation curves indicated thermodynamic stabilities at pH 5.0 of 5.7, 2.9, 2.6, and 4.6 kcal/mol for cp35S1, cp49D1, cp70G1, and cp96S1, respectively, compared to a value of 10.1 kcal/mol for wild-type RNase T1 and 6.4 kcal/mol for (C2, 10A) T1. A fifth set of circularly permuted variants was attempted with new termini positioned in a tight beta-turn between Glu-82 and Gln-85. New termini were inserted at Asn-83 (cp83N1), Asn-84 (cp84N1), and Gln-85 (cp85Q1). No detectable amount of protein was ever produced for any of the mutations in this region, suggesting that this turn may be critical for the proper folding and/or thermodynamic stability of RNase T1.

published proceedings

  • Protein Sci

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Garrett, J. B., Mullins, L. S., & Raushel, F. M.

citation count

  • 31

complete list of authors

  • Garrett, JB||Mullins, LS||Raushel, FM

publication date

  • February 1996