Assembly and function of the archaeal flagellum.
ABSTRACT Motility is a common behaviour in prokaryotes. Both bacteria and archaea use flagella for swimming motility, but it has been well documented that structures of the flagellum from these two domains of life are completely different, although they contribute to a similar function. Interestingly, information available to date has revealed that structurally archaeal flagella are more similar to bacterial type IV pili rather than to bacterial flagella. With the increasing genome sequence information and advancement in genetic tools for archaea, identification of the components involved in the assembly of the archaeal flagellum is possible. A subset of these components shows similarities to components from type IV pilus-assembly systems. Whereas the molecular players involved in assembly of the archaeal flagellum are being identified, the mechanics and dynamics of the assembly of the archaeal flagellum have yet to be established. Recent computational analysis in our laboratory has identified conserved highly charged loop regions within one of the core proteins of the flagellum, the membrane integral protein FlaJ, and predicted that these are involved in the interaction with the assembly ATPase FlaI. Interestingly, considerable variation was found among the loops of FlaJ from the two major subkingdoms of archaea, the Euryarchaeota and the Crenarchaeota. Understanding the assembly pathway and creating an interaction map of the molecular players in the archaeal flagellum will shed light on the details of the assembly and also the evolutionary relationship to the bacterial type IV pili-assembly systems.
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ABSTRACT: We have described previously that the flagella of the Euryarchaeon Pyrococcus furiosus are multifunctional cell appendages used for swimming, adhesion to surfaces and formation of cell-cell connections. Here, we characterize these organelles with respect to their biochemistry and transcription. Flagella were purified by shearing from cells followed by CsCl-gradient centrifugation and were found to consist mainly of a ca. 30 kDa glycoprotein. Polymerization studies of denatured flagella resulted in an ATP-independent formation of flagella-like filaments. The N-terminal sequence of the main flagellin was determined by Edman degradation, but none of the genes in the complete genome code for a protein with that N-terminus. Therefore, we resequenced the respective region of the genome, thereby discovering that the published genome sequence is not correct. A total of 771 bp are missing in the data base, resulting in the correction of the previously unusual N-terminal sequence of flagellin FlaB1 and in the identification of a third flagellin. To keep in line with the earlier nomenclature we call this flaB0. Very interestingly, the previously not identified flaB0 codes for the major flagellin. Transcriptional analyses of the revised flagellar operon identified various different cotranscripts encoding only a single protein in case of FlaB0 and FlaJ or up to five proteins (FlaB0-FlaD). Analysing the RNA of cells from different growth phases, we found that the length and number of detected cotranscript increased over time suggesting that the flagellar operon is transcribed mostly in late exponential and stationary growth phase.Frontiers in Microbiology 11/2014; DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00695 · 3.94 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Archaeal flagella are similar functionally to bacterial flagella, but structurally they are completely different. Helical archaeal flagellar filaments are formed of protein subunits called flagellins (archaellins). Notwithstanding progress in studies of archaeal flagella achieved in recent years, many problems in this area are still unsolved. In this review, we analyze the formation of these supramolecular structures by the example of flagellar filaments of halophilic archaea. Recent data on the structure of the flagellar filaments demonstrate that their supramolecular organization differs considerably in different haloarchaeal species.Biochemistry (Moscow) 12/2014; 79(13):1470-1482. DOI:10.1134/S0006297914130033 · 1.35 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In Methanococcus maripaludis S2, the swimming organelle, the archaellum, is composed of three archaellins, FlaB1S2, FlaB2S2 and FlaB3S2. All three are modified with an N-linked tetrasaccharide at multiple sites. Disruption of the N-linked glycosylation pathway is known to cause defects in archaella assembly or function. Here, we explored the potential requirement of N-glycosylation of archaellins on archaellation by investigating the effects of eliminating the 4 N-glycosylation sites in the wildtype FlaB2S2 protein in all possible combinations either by Asn to Glu (N to Q) substitution or Asn to Asp (N to D) substitutions of the N-glycosylation sequon asparagine. The ability of these mutant derivatives to complement a non-archaellated ΔflaB2S2 strain was examined by electron microscopy (for archaella assembly) and swarm plates (for analysis of swimming). Western blot results showed that all mutated FlaB2S2 proteins were expressed and of smaller apparent molecular mass compared to wildtype FlaB2S2, consistent with the loss of glycosylation sites. In the 8 single-site mutant complements, archaella were observed on the surface of Q2, D2 and D4 (numbers after N or Q refer to the 1st to 4th glycosylation site). Of the 6 double-site mutation complementations all were archaellated except D1,3. Of the 4 triple-site mutation complements, only D2,3,4 was archaellated. Elimination of all 4 N-glycosylation sites resulted in non-archaellated cells, indicating some minimum amount of archaellin glycosylation was necessary for their incorporation into stable archaella. All complementations that led to a return of archaella also resulted in motile cells with the exception of the D4 version. In addition, a series of FlaB2S2 scanning deletions each missing 10 amino acids was also generated and tested for their ability to complement the ΔflaB2S2 strain. While most variants were expressed, none of them restored archaellation, although FlaB2S2 harbouring a smaller 3-amino acid deletion was able to partially restore archaellation.PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2):e0116402. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0116402 · 3.53 Impact Factor