Identification and molecular characterization of novel pathways for disulfide formation

Disulfide bonds (DSBs) are essential, structure stabilizing, bonds found in secreted and outer membrane proteins. The majority of protein-based therapeutics contain DSBs and the complexity and cost of their production is a major limiting factor in making them accessible and affordable.

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Project duration


Project funder

Biocenter Oulu

Project coordinator

University of Oulu

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Project description

The group has been working for >20 years on the mechanisms of disulfide formation along with more recently the application of this knowledge using synthetic biology approaches to generate protein cell factories for the efficient production of DSB containing proteins in the cytoplasm of E.coli.

In this project, we hypothesized that the narrow view of the field to just a small handful of organisms may have biased our understanding of the possible mechanisms of disulfide formation. Examination of the disulfideome of >500 organisms has given new insights, allowing identification of novel pathways for disulfide formation. We will characterize the components of these, both structurally and by molecular enzymatics. As these include potentially unique pathways for protein folding in some disease-causing organisms, we hypothesize they may be ideal potential drug targets for disease intervention. New efficient catalysts for DSB formation will be incorporated into next generation protein cell factories.