Characterizing the tick carboxypeptidase inhibitor: Molecular basis for its two-domain nature

Joan L. Arolas, Sílvia Bronsoms, Salvador Ventura, Francesc X. Aviles, Juan J. Calvete

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Tick carboxypeptidase inhibitor (TCI) is a small, disulfide-rich protein that selectively inhibits metallocarboxypeptidases and strongly accelerates the fibrinolysis of blood clots. TCI consists of two domains that are structurally very similar, each containing three disulfide bonds arranged in an almost identical fashion. The oxidative folding and reductive unfolding pathways of TCI and its separated domains have been characterized by kinetic and structural analysis of the acid-trapped folding intermediates. TCI folding proceeds through a sequential formation of 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-disulfide species to reach the native form. Folding intermediates of TCI comprise two predominant 3-disulfide species (named IIIa and IIIb) and a major 6-disulfide scrambled isomer (Xa) that consecutively accumulate along the reaction and are strongly prevented by the presence of protein disulfide isomerase. This study demonstrates that IIIa and IIIb are 3-disulfide species containing the native disulfide pairings of the N- and C-terminal domains of TCI, respectively, and explains why the two domains of TCI fold sequentially and independently. Also, we show that the reductive unfolding of TCI undergoes two main independent unfolding events through the formation of IIIa and IIIb intermediates. Together, the comparison of the folding, stability, and inhibitory activity of TCI with those of the isolated domains reveals the reasons behind the two-domain nature of this protein: both domains contribute to the specificity and high affinity of its double-headed binding to carboxypeptidases. The results obtained herein provide valuable information for the design of more potent and selective TCI molecules. © 2006 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22906-22916
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2006


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