Synthesis of functionalized Rab GTPases by a combination of solution- or solid-phase lipopeptide synthesis with expressed protein ligation

L. Brunsveld, A. Watzke, T. Durek, K. Alexandrov, R.S. Goody, H. Waldmann

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Prenylated proteins with non-native functionalities are generally very difficult to obtain by recombinant or enzymatic means. The semisynthesis of preparative amounts of prenylated Rab guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases) from recombinant proteins and synthetic prenylated peptides depends largely on the availability of functionalised prenylated peptides corresponding to the proteins' native structure or modifications thereof. Here, we describe and compare solution-phase and solid-phase strategies for the generation of peptides corresponding to the prenylated C terminus of Rab7 GTPase. The solid-phase with utilisation of a hydrazide linker emerges as the more favourable approach. It allows a fast and practical synthesis of pure peptides and gives a high degree of flexibility in their modification. To facilitate the analysis of semisynthetic proteins, the synthesised peptides were equipped with a fluorescent group. Using the described approach, we introduced fluorophores at several different positions of the Rab7 C terminus. The position of the incorporated fluorescent groups in the peptides did not influence the protein-ligation reaction, as the generated peptides could be ligated onto thioester-tagged Rab7. However, it was found that the positioning of the fluorescent group had an influence on the functionality of the Rab7 proteins; analysis of the interaction of the semisynthetic Rab7 proteins with REP (Rab escort protein) and GDI (guanosine diphosphate dissociation inhibitor) molecules revealed that modification of the peptide side chains or of the C-terminal isoprenoid did not significantly interfere with complex formation. However, functionalisation of the C terminus was found to have an adverse effect on complex formation and stability, possibly reflecting low structural flexibility of the Rab GDI/REP molecules in the vicinity of the lipid-binding site.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2756-2772
JournalChemistry : A European Journal
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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