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S Shimamoto, M Fukutsuji, T Osumi, M Goto, H Toyoda and Y Hidaka
Abstract
Heat-stable enterotoxin (STa) produced by enterotoxigenic E. coli causes acute diarrhea and also can be used as a specific probe for colorectal cancer cells. STa contains three intra-molecular disulfide bonds (C1-C4, C2-C5, and C3-C6 connectivity). The chemical synthesis of STa provided not only the native type of STa but also a topological isomer that had the native disulfide pairings. Interestingly, the activity of the topological isomer was approximately 1/10-½ that of the native STa. To further investigate the bioactive conformation of this molecule and the regulation of disulfide-coupled folding during its chemical syntheses, we examined the folding mechanism of STa that occurs during its chemical synthesis. The folding intermediate of STa with two disulfide bonds (C1-C4 and C3-C6) and two Cys(Acm) residues, the precursor peptide, was treated with iodine to produce a third disulfide bond under several conditions. The topological isomer was predominantly produced under all conditions tested, along with trace amounts of the native type of STa. In addition, NMR measurements indicated that the topological isomer has a left-handed spiral structure similar to that of the precursor peptide, while the native type of STa had a right-handed spiral structure. These results indicate that the order of the regioselective formation of disulfide bonds is important for the regulation of the final conformation of disulfide-rich peptides in chemical synthesis.
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