Peroxiredoxins are ubiquitous, thiol-specific proteins that have multiple functions in stress protection, including oxidative stress. Tsa1 is the major yeast peroxiredoxin and we show that it functions as a specific antioxidant to protect against oxidative stress caused by nascent protein misfolding and aggregation. Yeast mutants lacking TSA1 are sensitive to misfolding caused by exposure to the proline analogue azetidine-2-carboxylic acid (AZC). AZC promotes protein aggregation and its toxicity to a tsa1 mutant is caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS). Generation of [rho0] cells lacking mitochondrial DNA rescues the tsa1 mutant AZC sensitivity indicating that mitochondria are the source of ROS. Inhibition of nascent protein synthesis with cycloheximide prevents AZC-induced protein aggregation and abrogates ROS generation confirming that aggregate formation causes ROS production. Protein aggregation is accompanied by mitochondrial fragmentation and we show that Tsa1 localizes to the sites of protein aggregation, which are formed adjacent to mitochondria.Further investigation reveals that AZC-induced protein aggregation leads to an inhibition of mitochondrial respiration and the depolarisation of the mitochondrial membrane. Remarkably, this was entirely dependent on the presence of Tsa1. We show that the effects of protein aggregation on mitochondrial function are mediated by the Ras/PKA pathway and that Tsa1 appears to influence the activity of this pathway through its effects on the yeast phosphodiesterase, Pde2. Together, these data indicate a new role for peroxiredoxins in the response to ROS, generated as a result of protein misfolding and aggregate formation. Finally, we analysed the characteristics of proteins found within protein aggregates, isolated from different conditions during the course of the study. Our results highlight the differences between proteins that aggregate under normal, mid-exponential growth conditions (physiological aggregates) and those which aggregate during cellular stress. We were able to establish the characteristics of an archetypical physiological aggregate, through an assessment of a range of properties, identifying factors that significantly differed from genomic expectations. Furthermore, our observations indicate that, in general, cellular stress reduces the threshold of metrics associated with protein aggregation propensity. We also found that different stresses result in the aggregation of proteins that are, largely, physicochemically indistinct from one another, regardless of the mode of toxicity. Finally we show that a significant number of proteins, identified in our protein aggregates, were also present in protein aggregates isolated from aged C. elegans. This suggests that the factors and components of protein aggregates are conserved.
- Protein Aggregation
- Oxidative Stress