α-Synuclein is a well-known heat-resistant protein that does not aggregate upon heat treatment, whereas glutathione S-transferase (GST) is a heat-labile protein that easily precipitates as a result of thermal stress. This paper reports the role of the C-terminal acidic tail of α-synuclein in protein thermosolubility and stability. The region of α-synuclein that is responsible for the heat resistance was initially investigated using a series of deletion mutants, and the C-terminal acidic tail (residues 96-140) was found to be crucial for the thermosolubility of α-synuclein. The thermal behavior of the GST-α-synuclein fusion protein was next investigated, and the fusion protein was seen to be extremely heat-resistant. Using a series of GST-synuclein deletion mutants, the C-terminal acidic tail of α-synuclein was shown to play a critical role in conferring the heat resistance of the fusion proteins. Furthermore, the acidic tail appeared to protect the fusion protein from pH- and metal-induced protein aggregation, suggesting that the acidic tail can increase the virtual stability of the protein by protecting it from the aggregation induced by environmental stresses. Interestingly, the acidic tail also appeared to protect the GST enzyme from the thermal inactivation to a considerable extent. However, CD analysis of the heat-induced secondary structural changes of the GST-α-synuclein fusion protein revealed that the fusion protein is irreversibly denatured by heat treatment with a slightly lowered melting temperature (Tm). Thus, the results demonstrate that introducing an acidic tail into GST promotes the thermosolubility and virtual stability of the fusion protein, although it might be unfavorable for its intrinsic stability.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes