Cataract is one of the major causes of blindness worldwide. Several factors including post-translational modification, thermal and solar radiations promote cataractogenesis. The camel lens proteins survive very harsh desert conditions and resist cataractogenesis. The folding and aggregation mechanism of camel lens proteins are poorly characterized. The camel lens contains three ubiquitous crystallins (α-, β-, and γ-crystallin) and a novel protein (ζ-crystallin) in large amounts. In this study, a sequence similarity search of camel α-crystallin with that of other organisms showed that the camel αB-crystallin consists of an extended N-terminal domain. Our results indicate that camel α-crystallin efficiently prevented aggregation of ζ-crystallin, with or without an obligate cofactor up to 89 °C. It performed a quick and efficient holdase function irrespective of the unfolding stage or aggregation. Camel α-crystallin exhibits approximately 20% chaperone activity between 30 and 40 °C and is completely activated above 40 °C. Camel α-crystallin underwent a single reversible thermal transition without loss of β-sheet secondary structure. Intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence and ANS binding experiments revealed two transitions which corresponded to activation of its chaperone function. In contrast to earlier studies, camel α-crystallin completely protected lens proteins during thermal stress.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.