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Title: Mechanistic behaviour and molecular interactions of heat shock protein 47 (HSP47)
Author: Abdul Wahab, Mohd Firdaus
ISNI:       0000 0004 2711 6898
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2012
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This project involves the study of heat shock protein 47 (HSP47), which is a molecular chaperone crucial for collagen biosynthesis. It exhibits a high degree of sequence homology with members of the serine protease inhibitor (serpin) superfamily, though HSP47 does not possess the inhibitory activity. It is a single-substrate chaperone, and binds only to collagen. ‘Knock-out’ of the hsp47 gene impairs the secretion of correctly folded collagen triple helix molecules leading to embryonic lethality in mice. Thus the aim of this project was to elucidate the specific mechanism that governs the binding to and release from collagen at the molecular level, known as the ‘pH-switch mechanism’. Emphasis is given on histidine (His) residues as the HSP47-collagen dissociation pH is similar to the pKa of the imidazole side chain of His residues. Site directed mutagenesis was used to mutate surface His residues, based on a mouse HSP47 homology model. The effects of the mutations on the behaviour of HSP47 were then assessed by collagen binding assays and structural analyses with circular dichroism (CD). All mutants were found to have good solubility and retain their binding ability to collagen like wild-type HSP47 in batch assay, but perturbed behaviour was seen in column experiment. Mutation of His residue at position 191 (H191) causes the shift in the collagen dissociation pH, while mutation of H197 and/or 198 disrupt the specific HSP47-collagen interaction. H191, 197 and 198 are predicted to be located in the region near the C-terminus of strand 3 of β-sheet A (s3A) in the homology model, a region specifically known as the ‘breach cluster’ in serpin nomenclature. The extent of conformational rearrangement of this region was further investigated by means of intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence spectroscopy using a series of single tryptophan (Trp) mutants. Results from analyses performed on the mutants did not contradict the observation seen in His mutational work, as Trp residues in the ‘breach’ cluster are likely to be located in the dynamic region of HSP47 pH-triggered conformational change. In conclusion, this study establishes the importance of His residues in the ‘breach cluster’ to HSP47 pH-switch behaviour. Finally, a model for HSP47 pH-switch mechanism was proposed from data obtained via mutagenesis experiments. The model is hoped to assist future research into HSP47 cellular behaviour and will also be of great use in therapeutic applications involving the molecular chaperone.
Supervisor: Cass, Tony ; Leatherbarrow, Robin Sponsor: MOHE Malaysia ; UTM
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral