Department of Chemistry


Date of this Version



Biopolymers. 2023;e23534.



This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License,


DJ-1 is a homodimeric protein that is centrally involved in various human diseases including Parkinson disease (PD). DJ-1 protects against oxidative damage and mitochondrial dysfunction through a homeostatic control of reactive oxygen species (ROS). DJ-1 pathology results from a loss of function, where ROS readily oxidizes a highly conserved and functionally essential cysteine (C106). The over-oxidation of DJ-1 C106 leads to a dynamically destabilized and biologically inactivated protein. An analysis of the structural stability of DJ-1 as a function of oxidative state and temperature may provide further insights into the role the protein plays in PD progression. NMR spectroscopy, circular dichroism, analytical ultracentrifugation sedimentation equilibrium, and molecular dynamics simulations were utilized to investigate the structure and dynamics of the reduced, oxidized (C106-SO2), and over-oxidized (C106-SO3) forms of DJ-1 for temperatures ranging from 5°C to 37°C. The three oxidative states of DJ-1 exhibited distinct temperature-dependent structural changes. A cold-induced aggregation occurred for the three DJ-1 oxidative states by 5°C, where the over-oxidized state aggregated at significantly higher temperatures than both the oxidized and reduced forms. Only the oxidized and over-oxidized forms of DJ-1 exhibited a mix state containing both folded and partially denatured protein that likely preserved secondary structure content. The relative amount of this denatured form of DJ-1 increased as the temperature was lowered, consistent with a cold-denaturation. Notably, the cold-induced aggregation and denaturation for the DJ-1 oxidative states were completely reversible. The dramatic changes in the structural stability of DJ-1 as a function of oxidative state and temperature are relevant to its role in PD and its functional response to oxidative stress.