The ATP synthase a-subunit of extreme alkaliphiles is a distinct variant: mutations in the critical alkaliphile-specific residue Lys-180 and other residues that support alkaliphile oxidative phosphorylation.
A lysine residue in the putative proton uptake pathway of the ATP synthase a-subunit is found only in alkaliphilic Bacillus species and is proposed to play roles in proton capture, retention and passage to the synthase rotor. Here, Lys-180 was replaced
with alanine (Ala), glycine (Gly), cysteine (Cys), arginine (Arg), or histidine (His) in the chromosome of alkaliphilic Bacillus pseudofirmus OF4. All mutants exhibited octylglucoside-stimulated ATPase activity and β-subunit levels at least as high as wild-type.
Purified mutant F1F0-ATP synthases all contained substantial a-subunit levels. The mutants exhibited diverse patterns of native (no octylglucoside)
ATPase activity and a range of defects in malate growth and in vitro ATP synthesis at pH 10.5. ATP synthesis by the Ala, Gly, and His mutants was also impaired at pH 7.5 in the presence of a
protonophoric uncoupler. Thus Lys-180 plays a role when the protonmotive force is reduced at near neutral, not just at high
pH. The Arg mutant exhibited no ATP synthesis activity in the alkaliphile setting although activity was reported for a K180R
mutant of a thermoalkaliphile synthase (McMillan, D. G., Keis, S., Dimroth, P., and Cook, G. M. (2007) J. Biol. Chem. 282, 17395–17404). The hypothesis that a-subunits from extreme alkaliphiles and the thermoalkaliphile represent distinct
variants was supported by demonstration of the importance of additional alkaliphile-specific a-subunit residues, not found
in the thermoalkaliphile, for malate growth of B. pseudofirmus OF4. Finally, a mutant B. pseudofirmus OF4 synthase with switched positions of Lys-180 (helix 4) and Gly-212 (helix 5) retained significant coupled synthase activity
accompanied by proton leakiness.
"The added attraction was that they also often had additional capacities, e.g., some with high temperature optima and others with low temperature optima that increased the range of environments in which they were catalytically competent (Kumar and Takagi, 1999; Fujinami and Fujisawa, 2010; Horikoshi, 2011; Sarethy et al., 2011). Examples of alkaliphile enzymes and their uses include alkaline proteases, which are used as detergent additives and for removing hair from hides; starch-degrading amylases with elevated pH optima are also suitable for laundry use and debranching enzymes, together with amylase, play a role in stain removal (Ito et al., 1989; Gessesse et al., 2003; Sarethy et al., 2011); alkaline keratinases can degrade feathers that are often unwanted by-products of other processes (Kojima et al., 2006); and cyclomaltodextrin glucanotransferases (CGTases) from alkaliphilic strains enhance the production of cyclodextrins (CDs), which are used in pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, and for chemical interactions (Horikoshi, 1999; Qi and Zimmermann, 2005; Fujinami and Fujisawa, 2010). Alkaliphiles also produce useful metabolites, including antibiotics. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alkaliphilic bacteria typically grow well at pH 9, with the most extremophilic strains growing up to pH values as high as pH 12-13. Interest in extreme alkaliphiles arises because they are sources of useful, stable enzymes, and the cells themselves can be used for biotechnological and other applications at high pH. In addition, alkaline hydrothermal vents represent an early evolutionary niche for alkaliphiles and novel extreme alkaliphiles have also recently been found in alkaline serpentinizing sites. A third focus of interest in alkaliphiles is the challenge raised by the use of proton-coupled ATP synthases for oxidative phosphorylation by non-fermentative alkaliphiles. This creates a problem with respect to tenets of the chemiosmotic model that remains the core model for the bioenergetics of oxidative phosphorylation. Each of these facets of alkaliphilic bacteria will be discussed with a focus on extremely alkaliphilic Bacillus strains. These alkaliphilic bacteria have provided a cogent experimental system to probe adaptations that enable their growth and oxidative phosphorylation at high pH. Adaptations are clearly needed to enable secreted or partially exposed enzymes or protein complexes to function at the high external pH. Also, alkaliphiles must maintain a cytoplasmic pH that is significantly lower than the pH of the outside medium. This protects cytoplasmic components from an external pH that is alkaline enough to impair their stability or function. However, the pH gradient across the cytoplasmic membrane, with its orientation of more acidic inside than outside, is in the reverse of the productive orientation for bioenergetic work. The reversed gradient reduces the trans-membrane proton-motive force available to energize ATP synthesis. Multiple strategies are hypothesized to be involved in enabling alkaliphiles to circumvent the challenge of a low bulk proton-motive force energizing proton-coupled ATP synthesis at high pH.
Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 06/2015; 3:75. DOI:10.3389/fbioe.2015.00075
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diverse mechanisms for pH sensing and cytoplasmic pH homeostasis enable most bacteria to tolerate or grow at external pH values that are outside the cytoplasmic pH range they must maintain for growth. The most extreme cases are exemplified by the extremophiles that inhabit environments with a pH of below 3 or above 11. Here, we describe how recent insights into the structure and function of key molecules and their regulators reveal novel strategies of bacterial pH homeostasis. These insights may help us to target certain pathogens more accurately and to harness the capacities of environmental bacteria more efficiently.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ATP synthase of the alkaliphile Bacillus pseudofirmus OF4 has a tridecameric c-subunit rotor ring. Each c-subunit has an AxAxAxA motif near the center of the inner helix, where neutralophilic bacteria generally have a GxGxGxG motif. Here, we studied the impact of four single and six multiple Ala-to-Gly chromosomal mutations in the A16xAxAxA22 motif on the capacity for nonfermentative growth and, for most of the mutants, on ATP synthesis by ADP- and P(i)-loaded membrane vesicles at pH 7.5 and 10.5. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) analyses of the holo-ATP synthases were used to probe stability of the mutant c-rotors and mobility properties of the c-rotors as well as the monomeric c-subunits that are released from them by trichloroacetic acid treatment. Mutants containing an Ala16-to-Gly mutation exhibited the most severe functional defects. Via SDS-PAGE, most of the mutant c-monomers exhibited increased mobility relative to the wild-type (WT) c-subunit, but among the intact c-rings, only Ala16-to-Gly mutants exhibited significantly increased mobility relative to that of the WT c-ring. The hypothesis that these c-rings have a decreased c-subunit stoichiometry is still untested, but the functional impact of an Ala16-to-Gly mutation clearly depended upon additional Ala-to-Gly mutation(s) and their positions. The A16/20G double mutant exhibited a larger functional deficit than both the A16G and A16/18G mutants. Most of the mutant c-rings showed in vitro instability relative to that of the WT c-ring. However, the functional deficits of mutants did not correlate well with the extent of c-ring stability loss, so this property is unlikely to be a major factor in vivo.
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