The molecular chaperone Hsp33 is activated by atmospheric-pressure plasma protecting proteins from aggregation

Krewing, M. and Stepanek, J.J. and Cremers, C. and Lackmann, J.-W. and Schubert, B. and Müller, A. and Awakowicz, P. and Leichert, L.I.O. and Jakob, U. and Bandow, J.E.

Volume: 16 Pages:
DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2018.0966
Published: 2019

Non-equilibrium atmospheric-pressure plasmas are an alternative means to sterilize and disinfect. Plasma-mediated protein aggregation has been identified as one of the mechanisms responsible for the antibacterial features of plasma. Heat shock protein 33 (Hsp33) is a chaperone with holdase function that is activated when oxidative stress and unfolding conditions coincide. In its active form, it binds unfolded proteins and prevents their aggregation. Here we analyse the influence of plasma on the structure and function of Hsp33 of Escherichia coli using a dielectric barrier discharge plasma. While most other proteins studied so far were rapidly inactivated by atmospheric-pressure plasma, exposure to plasma activated Hsp33. Both, oxidation of cysteine residues and partial unfolding of Hsp33 were observed after plasma treatment. Plasma-mediated activation of Hsp33 was reversible by reducing agents, indicating that cysteine residues critical for regulation of Hsp33 activitywere not irreversibly oxidized. However, the reduction yielded a protein that did not regain its original fold. Nevertheless, a second round of plasma treatment resulted again in a fully active protein that was unfolded to an even higher degree. These conformational states were not previously observed after chemical activation with HOCl. Thus, although we could detect the formation of HOCl in the liquid phase during plasma treatment, we conclude that other species must be involved in plasma activation of Hsp33. E. coli cells over-expressing the Hsp33-encoding gene hslO from a plasmid showed increased survival rates when treated with plasma while an hslO deletion mutant was hypersensitive emphasizing the importance of protein aggregation as an inactivation mechanism of plasma. © 2019 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

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