Replacement of Arg in the conserved N-terminal RLFDQxFG motif affects physico-chemical properties and chaperone-like activity of human small heat shock protein HspB8 (Hsp22)

The small heat shock protein (sHsp) called HspB8 (formerly, Hsp22) is one of the least typical sHsp members, whose oligomerization status remains debatable. Here we analyze the effect of mutations in a highly conservative sequence located in the N-terminal domain of human HspB8 on its physico-chemical properties and chaperone-like activity. According to size-exclusion chromatography coupled to multi-angle light scattering, the wild type (WT) HspB8 is present as dominating monomeric species (~24 kDa) and a small fraction of oligomers (~60 kDa). The R29A amino acid substitution leads to the predominant formation of 60-kDa oligomers, leaving only a small fraction of monomers. Deletion of the 28–32 pentapeptide (Δ mutant) results in the formation of minor quantities of dimers (~49 kDa) and large quantities of the 24-kDa monomers. Both the WT protein and its Δ mutant efficiently bind a hydrophobic probe bis-ANS and are relatively rapidly hydrolyzed by chymotrypsin, whereas the R29A mutant weakly binds bis-ANS and resists chymotrypsinolysis. In contrast to HspB8 WT and its Δ mutant, which are well phosphorylated by cAMP-dependent and ERK1 protein kinases, the R29A mutant is poorly phosphorylated. R29A mutation affects the chaperone-like activity of HspB8 measured in vitro. It is concluded that the irreplaceable Arg residue located in the only highly conservative motif in the N-terminal domain of all sHsp proteins affects the oligomeric structure and key properties of HspB8.

Shatov V.M., Sluchanko N.N., Gusev N.B.PLoS ONE 16(6): e0253432. 2021.

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