Current eye research

Pantethine inhibits the formation of high-Tc protein aggregates in gamma B crystallin solutions.

PMID 9018433


Solutions of the bovine lens protein gamma B (or gamma II) crystallin at neutral pH in the absence of reducing agents, undergo a slow, partial conversion to a new protein species, gamma IIH. This species is an aggregate composed of an intermolecular, disulfide-crosslinked dimer (approximately equal to 32% of total protein by weight) and loosely associated dimers (approximately equal to 66%). gamma IIH has a phase separation temperature (Tph), at least 40 degrees C higher than that of native gamma II crystallin at any given protein concentration. In this paper we demonstrate that pantethine, a derivative of coenzyme A, inhibits the formation of gamma IIH. gamma II crystallin solutions were incubated at pH 7.1 and room temperature with increasing amounts of pantethine. The Tph of the solutions was monitored as a function of incubation time. Corresponding to each Tph measurement, aliquots of each solution were analyzed by cation-exchange HPLC to determine the amount of gamma IIH formed. Incubation of gamma II crystallin with increasing amounts of pantethine lowers Tph and suppresses the formation of gamma IIH. With pantethine to protein mole ratios of 0.66, 1 and 2, the Tph of gamma II crystallin is lowered from 8 degrees C in the native protein, to 2 degrees C, -3 degrees C respectively, at a protein concentration of approximately equal to 200 mg/ml. The amount of gamma IIH accumulated decreases from approximately 25% in the native protein to 10%, 1% and 0% respectively in these pantethine-treated protein solutions. For complete suppression of the rise in Tph and inhibition of gamma IIH formation, a 2:1 mole ratio of pantethine to protein is required. We suggest that pantethine reacts with two cysteine residues of gamma IIH crystallin by forming a mixed disulfide, and effectively suppress protein aggregation and lowers Tph. This is due to the strong polar character of pantethine which reduces the net attractive interactions between the protein molecules.

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D-Pantethine, analytical standard