Scientific reports

Artificial DnaJ Protein for protein production and conformational diseases.

PMID 28819167


For secreted proteins, proper protein folding is essential not only for biological function but also for secretion itself. Proteins with folding problems are trapped in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and are eventually degraded in the cytoplasm. In this study, we exploited co-expression of an artificial fusion protein, based on the sequence of a DnaJ protein, which could interact as co-chaperones in the Hsp70-based protein-folding system, with target recombinant secreted proteins to enhance their production and secretion. The J-domain sequence or a fragment thereof was conjugated to a target protein-binding domain that was capable of binding to a portion of the target-protein sequence. Production of many of the target proteins was significantly upregulated when co-expressed with the J-domain fusion protein. Surprisingly, the enhancement of secretion was observed even when the J-domain had a mutation in the HPD motif, which is necessary for J-protein-Hsp70 interactions, suggesting the phenomenon observed is independent on functional J-protein-Hsp70 interactions. This technology has great potential for not only enhancing the production of recombinant proteins, but also to treat conformational diseases such as cystic fibrosis, and Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.