Parasitic nematodes of humans and plants secrete a structurally novel type of fatty acid- and retinol-binding protein, FAR, into the tissues they occupy. These proteins may interfere with intercellular lipid signaling to manipulate the defense reactions of the host or acquire essential lipids for the parasites. The genome of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans encodes eight FAR-like proteins (Ce-FAR-1 to -8). These fall into three discrete groups as indicated by phylogenetic sequence comparisons and intron positions, the proteins from parasitic nematodes falling into group A. Recombinant Ce-FAR-1 to -7 were produced inEscherichia coli and tested for lipid binding in fluorescence-based assays. Ce-FAR-1 to -6 bound DAUDA (11-((5-dimethylaminonaphthalene-1-sulfonyl)amino)undecanoic acid),cis-parinaric acid, and retinol with dissociation constants in the micromolar range, whereas Ce-FAR-7 bound the latter two lipids relatively poorly. Each protein produced a characteristic shift in peak fluorescence emission of DAUDA, and one (Ce-FAR-5) produced a shift greater than has been observed previously for any lipid-binding protein. Selected Ce-FAR proteins were analyzed by circular dichroism (CD) and differential scanning calorimetry, were found to be helix-rich, and exhibited high thermal stability (transition midpoint, 82.7 °C). CD and secondary structure predictions, however, both indicated that Ce-FAR-7 possesses substantially less helix than the other FAR proteins. The genes encoding the Ce-FAR proteins were found to be transcribed differentially through the life cycle of C. elegans, such that Ce-far-4 was transcribed at highest levels in the fourth larval stage, and Ce-far-3 and -7 predominated in males.
- FAR protein
- protein structure and folding
- nematode caenorhabditis elegans
- lipid binding