MTH1745 is a putative protein disulfide isomerase characterized with 151 amino acid residues and a CPAC active-site from the anaerobic archaea Methanothermobacter thermoautotrophicum. The potential functions of MTH1745 are not clear. In the present study, we show a crucial role of MTH1745 in protecting cells against stress which may be related to its functions as a disulfide isomerase and its chaperone properties. Using real-time polymerase chain reaction analyses, the level of MTH1745 messenger RNA (mRNA) in the thermophilic archaea M. thermoautotrophicum was found to be stress-induced in that it was significantly higher under low (50°C) and high (70°C) growth temperatures than under the optimal growth temperature for the organism (65°C). Additionally, the expression of MTH1745 mRNA was up-regulated by cold shock (4°C). Furthermore, the survival of MTH1745 expressing Escherichia coli cells was markedly higher than that of control cells in response to heat shock (51.0°C). These results indicated that MTH1745 plays an important role in the resistance of stress. By assay of enzyme activities in vitro, MTH1745 also exhibited a chaperone function by promoting the functional folding of citrate synthase after thermodenaturation. On the other hand, MTH1745 was also shown to function as a disulfide isomerase on the refolding of denatured and reduced ribonuclease A. On the basis of its single thioredoxin domain, function as a disulfide isomerase, and its chaperone activity, we suggest that MTH1745 may be an ancient protein disulfide isomerase. These studies may provide clues to the understanding of the function of protein disulfide isomerase in archaea
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