Many proteins cannot fold into their native state without the assistance of one or more molecular chaperones. Chaperonins are an essential class of chaperones that provide an isolated chamber for proteins to fold. CCT, a group II chaperonin found in eukaryotes assists in the folding of actins, tubulins, and many other cellular proteins. PhLP1 is a member of the phosducin protein family that assists CCT in the folding of Gβ and its subsequent assembly with Gγ. However, previous studies have not addressed the scope of PhLP1 and CCT-mediated Gβγ; assembly. The data presented in Chapter 2 shows that PhLP1 plays a vital role in the assembly of all Gγ subunits that form dimers with Gβ2 and the assembly of Gγ2 with Gβ1-4, without affecting the specificity of the Gβγ interactions. These findings suggest that PhLP1 has a general role for the assembly of all Gβγ combinations. Although the role of PhLP1 as a co-chaperone for Gβγ assembly has been established, other possible functions for PhLP1 either as a co-chaperone or otherwise are yet to be investigated. A known tumor suppressor protein, PDCD5, was found to interact with PhLP1 in a co-immunoprecipitation proteomics screen. The data presented in Chapter 3 show that PDCD5 binds PhLP1 indirectly through a ternary complex with CCT. Our results signify that the apoptotic function of PDCD5 is cytosolic, is phosphorylation dependent, and most likely involves CCT. Moreover, structural analysis suggests that over-expressed PDCD5 blocks β-actin from entering the CCT folding cavity, suggesting a co-chaperone role for PDCD5 in inhibiting or enhancing folding of yet-to-be determined CCT substrates. Compared to PhLP1, the functions of other members of the phosducin family, PhLP2A, PhLP2B, and PhLP3, are poorly understood. They have no role in G-protein signaling, but appear to assist CCT in the folding of actin, tubulin and proteins involved in cell cycle progression. Chapter 4 investigates the possibility of PhLP2 and/or PhLP3 acting as co-chaperones in the folding and assembly of actins and tubulins. In addition, another mediator of cellular signaling, 14-3-3ε, was found to interact with PhLP2A in a phosphorylation dependent manner and relieve the inhibition of β-actin folding caused by PhLP2A over-expression.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry



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Chaperonin, chaperone, G-protein signaling, phosducin-like protein, PDCD5