Total chemical synthesis of human matrix Gla protein

T.M. Hackeng, J. Rosing, H.M.H. Spronk, C. Vermeer

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57 Citations (Scopus)


Human matrix Gla protein (MGP) is a vitamin K-dependent extracellular matrix protein that binds Ca2+ ions and that is involved in the prevention of vascular calcification. MCP is a 10.6-kD protein (84 amino acids) containing five gamma -carboxyglutamic acid (Gla) residues and one disulfide bond. Studies of the mechanism by which MGP prevents calcification of the arterial media are hampered by the low solubility of the protein (g/mL). Because of solubility problems, processing of a recombinantly expressed MGP-fusion protein chimera to obtain MGP was unsuccessful. Here we describe the total chemical synthesis of MGP by tBoc solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) and native chemical ligation. Peptide Tyr(1)-Ala(53) was synthesized on a derivatized resin yielding a C-terminal thioester group. Peptide Cys(54)-Lys(84) was synthesized on Lys-PAM resin yielding a C-terminal carboxylic acid. Subsequent native chemical ligation of the two peptides resulted in the formation of a native peptide bond between Ala(53) and Cys(54). Folding of the 1-84-polypeptide chain in 3 M guanidine (pH 8) resulted in a decrease of molecular mass from 10,605 to 10,603 (ESI-MS), representing the loss of two protons because of the formation of the Cys(54)-Cys(60) internal disulfide bond. Like native MGP, synthetic MGP had the same low solubility when brought into aqueous buffer solutions with physiological salt concentrations, confirming its native like structure. However, the solubility of MGP markedly increased in berate buffer at pH 7.4 in the absence of sodium chloride. Ca2+-binding to MGP was confirmed by analytical HPLC, on which the retention time of MGP was reduced in the presence of CaCl2. Circular dichroism studies revealed a sharp increase in alpha -helicity at 0.2 mM CaCl2 that may explain the Ca2+-dependent shift in high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC)-retention time of MGP. In conclusion, facile and efficient chemical synthesis in combination with native chemical ligation yielded MGP preparations that can aid in unraveling the mechanism by which MGP prevents vascular calcification
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)864-870
JournalProtein Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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