Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.526, No.4, 1112-1117, 2020
ATP antagonizes the crowding-induced destabilization of the human eye-lens protein gamma S-crystallin
In lens, alpha beta gamma-crystallins accounting for similar to 90% of ocular proteins with concentrations >400 mg/ml need to remain soluble for the whole life-span and their aggregation can lead to cataract. Mysteriously, despite being a metabolically-quiescent organ, lens maintains ATP concentrations of 3-7 mM. Very recently, ATP was proposed to hydrotropically prevent aggregation of crystallins but the mechanism remains unexplored. Here by NMR, DLS and DSF, we characterized the association, thermal stability and conformation of the 178-residue human gamma S-crystallin at concentrations from 2 to 100 mg/ml in the absence and in the presence of ATP. Results together reveal for the first time that ATP does antagonize the crowding-induced destabilization, although it has no significant binding to gamma S-crystallin as well as no alteration of its conformation. Therefore, ATP prevents aggregation in lens by a novel mechanism, thus rationalizing the fact that declining concentrations of ATP upon being aged is related to age-related cataractogenesis. To restore the normal concentrations of ATP in lens may represent a promising therapeutic strategy to treat aggregation-causing eye diseases. (C) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.