Journal of Molecular Biology vol:378 issue:5 pages:1116-31
Protein misfolding and deposition underlie an increasing number of debilitating human disorders and constitute a problem of major concern in biotechnology. In the last years, in vitro studies have provided valuable insights into the physicochemical principles underlying protein aggregation. Nevertheless, information about the determinants of protein deposition within the cell is scarce and only a few systematic studies comparing in vitro and in vivo data have been reported. Here, we have used the SH3 domain of alpha-spectrin as a model globular protein in an attempt to understand the relationship between protein aggregation in the test-tube and in the more complex cellular environment. The investigation of the aggregation in Escherichia coli of this domain and a large set of mutants, together with the analysis of their sequential and conformational properties allowed us to evaluate the contribution of different polypeptidic factors to the cellular deposition of globular proteins. The data presented here suggest that the rules that govern in vitro protein aggregation are also valid in in vivo contexts. They also provide relevant insights into intracellular protein deposition in both conformational diseases and recombinant protein production.