Deciphering the role of the thermodynamic and kinetic stabilities of SH3 domains on their aggregation inside bacteria

Virginia Castillo, Alba Espargaró, Veronica Gordo, Josep Vendrell, Salvador Ventura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The formation of insoluble deposits by globular proteins underlies the onset of many human diseases. Recent studies suggest a relationship between the thermodynamic stability of proteins and their in vivo aggregation. However, it has been argued that, in the cell, the occurrence of irreversible aggregation might shift the system from equilibrium, in such a way that it could be the rate of unfolding and associated kinetic stability instead of the conformational stability that controls protein deposition. This is an important but difficult to decipher question, because kinetic and thermodynamic stabilities appear usually correlated. Here we address this issue by comparing the in vitro folding kinetics and stability features of a set of non-natural SH3 domains with their aggregation properties when expressed in bacteria. In addition, we compare the in vitro stability of the isolated domains with their effective stability in conditions that mimic the cytosolic environment. Overall, the data argue in favor of a thermodynamic rather than a kinetic control of the intracellular aggregation propensities of small globular proteins in which folding and unfolding velocities largely exceed aggregation rates. These results have implications regarding the evolution of proteins. Copyright © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4172-4185
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010


  • Protein aggregation
  • Protein folding
  • Protein stability
  • Systems Biology


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