The second extracellular loop of pore-forming subunits of ATP-binding cassette transporters for basic amino acids plays a crucial role in interaction with the cognate solute binding protein(s).
ABSTRACT In the thermophile Geobacillus stearothermophilus, the uptake of basic amino acids is mediated by an ABC transporter composed of the substrate binding protein (receptor) ArtJ and a homodimer each of the pore-forming subunit, ArtM, and the nucleotide-binding subunit, ArtP. We recently identified two putative binding sites in ArtJ that might interact with the Art(MP)(2) complex, thereby initiating the transport cycle (A. Vahedi-Faridi et al., J. Mol. Biol. 375:448-459, 2008). Here we investigated the contribution of charged amino acid residues in the second extracellular loop of ArtM to contact with ArtJ. Our results demonstrate a crucial role for residues K177, R185, and E188, since mutations to oppositely charged amino acids or glutamine led to a complete loss of ArtJ-stimulated ATPase activity of the complex variants in proteoliposomes. The defects could not be suppressed by ArtJ variants carrying mutations in site I (K39E and K152E) or II (E163K and D170K), suggesting a more complex interplay than that by a single salt bridge. These findings were supported by cross-linking assays demonstrating physical proximity between ArtJ(N166C) and ArtM(E182C). The importance of positively charged residues for receptor-transporter interaction was underscored by mutational analysis of the closely related transporter HisJ/LAO-HisQMP(2) of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. While transporter variants with mutated positively charged residues in HisQ displayed residual ATPase activities, corresponding mutants of HisM could no longer be stimulated by HisJ/LAO. Interestingly, the ATPase activity of the HisQM(K187E)P(2) variant was inhibited by l- and d-histidine in detergent, suggesting a role of the residue in preventing free histidine from gaining access to the substrate binding site within HisQM.