DsbA is a redox-switchable mechanical chaperone†
DsbA is a ubiquitous bacterial oxidoreductase that associates with substrates during and after translocation, yet its involvement in protein folding and translocation remains an open question. Here we demonstrate a redox-controlled chaperone activity of DsbA, on both cysteine-containing and cysteine-free substrates, using magnetic tweezers-based single molecule force spectroscopy that enables independent measurements of oxidoreductase activity and chaperone behavior. Interestingly we found that this chaperone activity is tuned by the oxidation state of DsbA; oxidized DsbA is a strong promoter of folding, but the effect is weakened by the reduction of the catalytic CXXC motif. We further localize the chaperone binding site of DsbA using a seven-residue peptide which effectively blocks the chaperone activity. We found that the DsbA assisted folding of proteins in the periplasm generates enough mechanical work to decrease the ATP consumption needed for periplasmic translocation by up to 33%.