Conversion of inactive glycosylation inhibiting factor to bioactive derivatives by modification of a SH group

Tatsumi Nakano, Hiroshi Watarai, Yun Cai Liu, Yukihito Oyama, Toshifumi Mikayama, Kimishige Ishizaka

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18 Scopus citations


Escherichia coli-derived recombinant human glycosylation inhibiting factor (rhGIF) contains three cysteine residues (Cys-57, -60, and -81). All SH groups in the cysteine residues are free, and the GIF molecule had no biologic activity. Carboxymethylation of the SH group of Cys-60 in the molecule resulted in the generation of bioactivity, although the activity of the carboxymethylated GIF was 10- to 20-fold less than that of suppressor T cell (Ts)-derived GIF. However, treatment of the inactive rhGIF with ethylmercurithiosalicylate or 5,5'-dithiobis(2-nitrobenzoic acid) (DTNB) resulted in the generation of derivatives whose bioactivity was comparable to that of the Ts-derived bioactive GIF. The activity of these derivatives was lost by treatment with DTT. Isolation and chemical analysis of the DTNB- treated GIF derivative revealed that binding the 5-thio-2-nitrobenzoic acid group with Cys-60 was responsible for the generation of the highly bioactive derivative. Inactive cytosolic GIF from mammalian cells could also be converted to bioactive derivative by treatment with the SH reagent, while Ts- derived bioactive GIF was inactivated by DTT. These results, together with an x-ray crystal structure of GIF molecules, strongly suggest that the generation of bioactivity of GIF in Ts cells is due to post-translational modifications that result in conformational changes in the molecule.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-207
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 7 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • SH reagent
  • conformational structure
  • suppressor T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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