Trigger factor both holds and folds its client proteins

July 21, 2022


Trigger factor both holds and folds its client proteins


Kevin Wu, Thomas C. Minshull, Sheena E. Radford, Antonio N. Calabrese & James C. A. Bardwell




Nature Communications


ATP-independent chaperones like trigger factor are generally assumed to play passive roles in protein folding by acting as holding chaperones. Here we show that trigger factor plays a more active role. Consistent with a role as an aggregation inhibiting chaperone, we find that trigger factor rapidly binds to partially folded glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and prevents it from non-productive self-association by shielding oligomeric interfaces. In the traditional view of holding chaperone action, trigger factor would then be expected to transfer its client to a chaperone foldase system for complete folding. Unexpectedly, we noticed that GAPDH folds into a monomeric but otherwise rather native-like intermediate state while trigger factor-bound. Upon release from trigger factor, the mostly folded monomeric GAPDH rapidly self-associates into its native tetramer and acquires enzymatic activity without needing additional folding factors. The mechanism we propose here for trigger factor bridges the holding and folding activities of chaperone function.




trigger, factor, ATP, GAPDH,