Rapid expansion of the protein disulfide isomerase gene family facilitates the folding of venom peptides

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Formation of correct disulfide bonds in the endoplasmic reticulum is a crucial step for folding proteins destined for secretion. Protein disulfide isomerases (PDIs) play a central role in this process. We report a previously unidentified, hypervariable family of PDIs that represents the most diverse gene family of oxidoreductases described in a single genus to date. These enzymes are highly expressed specifically in the venom glands of predatory cone snails, animals that synthesize a remarkably diverse set of cysteine-rich peptide toxins (conotoxins). Enzymes in this PDI family, termed conotoxin-specific PDIs, significantly and differentially accelerate the kinetics of disulfide-bond formation of several conotoxins. Our results are consistent with a unique biological scenario associated with protein folding: The diversification of a family of foldases can be correlated with the rapid evolution of an unprecedented diversity of disulfide-rich structural domains expressed by venomous marine snails in the superfamily Conoidea.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)3227-3232
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ID: 160125168