Matthias Müller

University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany

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Publications (28)124.97 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The twin-arginine translocation (Tat) pathway guides fully folded proteins across membranes of bacteria, archaea and plant chloroplasts. In Escherichia coli, Tat-specific transport is executed in a still largely unknown manner by three functionally diverse membrane proteins, termed TatA, TatB, and TatC. In order to follow the intracellular distribution of the TatABC proteins in live E. coli cells, we have individually expressed fluorophore-tagged versions of each Tat protein in addition to a set of chromosomally encoded TatABC proteins. In this way, a Tat translocase could form from the native TatABC proteins and be visualized via the association of a fluorescent Tat variant. A functionally active TatA-green fluorescent protein fusion was found to re-locate from a uniform distribution in the membrane into a few clusters preferentially located at the cell poles. Clustering was absolutely dependent on the co-expression of functional Tat substrates, the proton-motive force, and the cognate TatBC subunits. Likewise, polar cluster formation of a functional TatB-mCherry fusion required TatA and TatC and that of a functional TatC-mCherry fusion a functional Tat substrate. Furthermore we directly demonstrate the co-localization of TatA and TatB in the same fluorescent clusters. Our collective results are consistent with distinct Tat translocation sites dynamically forming in vivo in response to newly synthesized Tat substrates.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(8):e69488. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The twin-arginine translocation (Tat) pathway of bacteria and plant chloroplasts mediates the transmembrane transport of folded proteins, which harbour signal sequences with a conserved twin-arginine motif. Many Tat translocases comprise the three membrane proteins TatA, TatB and TatC. TatC was previously shown to be involved in recognizing twin-arginine signal peptides. Here we show that beyond recognition, TatC mediates the transmembrane insertion of a twin-arginine signal sequence, thereby translocating the signal sequence cleavage site across the bilayer. In the absence of TatB, this can lead to the removal of the signal sequence even from a translocation-incompetent substrate. Hence interaction of twin-arginine signal peptides with TatB counteracts their premature cleavage uncoupled from translocation. This capacity of TatB is not shared by the homologous TatA protein. Collectively our results suggest that TatC is an insertase for twin-arginine signal peptides and that translocation-proficient signal sequence recognition requires the concerted action of TatC and TatB.
    Nature Communications 12/2012; 3:1311. · 10.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The twin arginine transport (Tat) system transports folded proteins across the prokaryotic cytoplasmic membrane and the plant thylakoid membrane. TatC is the largest and most conserved component of the Tat machinery. It forms a multisubunit complex with TatB and binds the signal peptides of Tat substrates. Here we have taken a random mutagenesis approach to identify substitutions in Escherichia coli TatC that inactivate protein transport. We identify 32 individual amino acid substitutions that abolish or severely compromise TatC activity. The majority of the inactivating substitutions fall within the first two periplasmic loops of TatC. These regions are predicted to have conserved secondary structure and results of extensive amino acid insertion and deletion mutagenesis are consistent with these conserved elements being essential for TatC function. Three inactivating substitutions were identified in the fifth transmembrane helix of TatC. The inactive M205R variant could be suppressed by mutations affecting amino acids in the transmembrane helix of TatB. A physical interaction between TatC helix 5 and the TatB transmembrane helix was confirmed by the formation of a site-specific disulphide bond between TatC M205C and TatB L9C variants. This is the first molecular contact site mapped to single amino acid level between these two proteins.
    Molecular Microbiology 06/2012; 85(5):945-61. · 4.96 Impact Factor
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    Julia Fröbel, Patrick Rose, Matthias Müller
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    ABSTRACT: Twin-arginine translocation (Tat) denotes a protein transport pathway in bacteria, archaea and plant chloroplasts, which is specific for precursor proteins harbouring a characteristic twin-arginine pair in their signal sequences. Many Tat substrates receive cofactors and fold prior to translocation. For a subset of them, proofreading chaperones coordinate maturation and membrane-targeting. Tat translocases comprise two kinds of membrane proteins, a hexahelical TatC-type protein and one or two members of the single-spanning TatA protein family, called TatA and TatB. TatC- and TatA-type proteins form homo- and hetero-oligomeric complexes. The subunits of TatABC translocases are predominantly recovered from two separate complexes, a TatBC complex that might contain some TatA, and a homomeric TatA complex. TatB and TatC coordinately recognize twin-arginine signal peptides and accommodate them in membrane-embedded binding pockets. Advanced binding of the signal sequence to the Tat translocase requires the proton-motive force (PMF) across the membranes and might involve a first recruitment of TatA. When targeted in this manner, folded twin-arginine precursors induce homo-oligomerization of TatB and TatA. Ultimately, this leads to the formation of a transmembrane protein conduit that possibly consists of a pore-like TatA structure. The translocation step again is dependent on the PMF.
    Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 04/2012; 367(1592):1029-46. · 6.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A number of secreted precursor proteins of bacteria, archaea, and plant chloroplasts stand out by a conserved twin arginine-containing sequence motif in their signal peptides. Many of these precursor proteins are secreted in a completely folded conformation by specific twin arginine translocation (Tat) machineries. Tat machineries are high molecular mass complexes consisting of two types of membrane proteins, a hexahelical TatC protein, and usually one or two single-spanning membrane proteins, called TatA and TatB. TatC has previously been shown to be involved in the recognition of twin arginine signal peptides. We have performed an extensive site-specific cross-linking analysis of the Escherichia coli TatC protein under resting and translocating conditions. This strategy allowed us to map the recognition site for twin arginine signal peptides to the cytosolic N-terminal region and first cytosolic loop of TatC. In addition, discrete contact sites between TatC, TatB, and TatA were revealed. We discuss a tentative model of how a twin arginine signal sequence might be accommodated in the Tat translocase.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2012; 287(16):13430-41. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The twin arginine translocation (Tat) pathway transports folded proteins across the cytoplasmic membrane of bacteria. Tat signal peptides contain a consensus motif (S/T-R-R-X-F-L-K) that is thought to play a crucial role in substrate recognition by the Tat translocase. Replacement of the phenylalanine at the +2 consensus position in the signal peptide of a Tat-specific reporter protein (TorA-MalE) by aspartate blocked export of the corresponding TorA(D(+2))-MalE precursor, indicating that this mutation prevents a productive binding of the TorA(D(+2)) signal peptide to the Tat translocase. Mutations were identified in the extreme amino-terminal regions of TatB and TatC that synergistically suppressed the export defect of TorA(D(+2))-MalE when present in pairwise or triple combinations. The observed synergistic suppression activities were even more pronounced in the restoration of membrane translocation of another export-defective precursor, TorA(KQ)-MalE, in which the conserved twin arginine residues had been replaced by lysine-glutamine. Collectively, these findings indicate that the extreme amino-terminal regions of TatB and TatC cooperate tightly during recognition and productive binding of Tat-dependent precursor proteins and, furthermore, that TatB and TatC are both involved in the formation of a specific signal peptide binding site that reaches out as far as the end of the TatB transmembrane segment.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(6):e39867. · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • Julia Fröbel, Patrick Rose, Matthias Müller
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    ABSTRACT: Twin-arginine translocation (Tat) is a unique protein transport pathway in bacteria, archaea, and plastids. It mediates the transmembrane transport of fully folded proteins, which harbor a consensus twin-arginine motif in their signal sequences. In Gram-negative bacteria and plant chloroplasts, three membrane proteins, named TatA, TatB, and TatC, are required to enable Tat translocation. Available data suggest that TatA assembles into oligomeric pore-like structures that might function as the protein conduit across the lipid bilayer. Using site-specific photo-cross-linking, we have investigated the molecular environment of TatA under resting and translocating conditions. We find that monomeric TatA is an early interacting partner of functionally targeted Tat substrates. This interaction with TatA likely precedes translocation of Tat substrates and is influenced by the proton-motive force. It strictly depends on the presence of TatB and TatC, the latter of which is shown to make contacts with the transmembrane helix of TatA.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2011; 286(51):43679-89. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mechanisms of protein secretion by pathogenic bacteria remain poorly understood. In gram-negative bacteria, the two-partner secretion pathway exports large, mostly virulence-related "TpsA" proteins across the outer membrane via their dedicated "TpsB" transporters. TpsB transporters belong to the ubiquitous Omp85 superfamily, whose members are involved in protein translocation across, or integration into, cellular membranes. The filamentous hemagglutinin/FhaC pair of Bordetella pertussis is a model two-partner secretion system. We have reconstituted the TpsB transporter FhaC into proteoliposomes and demonstrate that FhaC is the sole outer membrane protein required for translocation of its cognate TpsA protein. This is the first in vitro system for analyzing protein secretion across the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria. Our data also provide clear evidence for the protein translocation function of Omp85 transporters.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2011; 287(4):2591-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The twin arginine protein transport (Tat) system transports folded proteins across the cytoplasmic membranes of prokaryotes and the thylakoid membranes of plant chloroplasts. In Escherichia coli, the TatB and TatC components form a multivalent receptor complex that binds Tat substrates. Here, we have used a genetic fusion approach to construct covalent TatC oligomers in order to probe the organisation of TatC. A fused dimer of TatC supported Tat transport activity and was fully stable in vivo. Inactivating point mutations in one or other of the TatC units in the fused TatC dimer did not inactivate TatC function, indicating that only one TatC protomer in the TatC fused dimer needs to be active. Larger covalent fusions of TatC also supported Tat transport activity but were degraded in vivo to release smaller TatC forms. Taken together, these results strongly suggest that TatC forms a functional dimer, and support the idea that there is an even number of TatC protomers in the TatBC complex.
    Journal of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology 06/2011; 20(3):168-75. · 1.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Twin-arginine-containing signal sequences mediate the transmembrane transport of folded proteins. The cognate twin-arginine translocation (Tat) machinery of Escherichia coli consists of the membrane proteins TatA, TatB, and TatC. Whereas Tat signal peptides are recognized by TatB and TatC, little is known about molecular contacts of the mature, folded part of Tat precursor proteins. We have placed a photo-cross-linker into Tat substrates at sites predicted to be either surface-exposed or hidden in the core of the folded proteins. On targeting of these variants to the Tat machinery of membrane vesicles, all surface-exposed sites were found in close proximity to TatB. Correspondingly, incorporation of the cross-linker into TatB revealed multiple precursor-binding sites in the predicted transmembrane and amphipathic helices of TatB. Large adducts indicative of TatB oligomers contacting one precursor molecule were also obtained. Cross-linking of Tat substrates to TatB required an intact twin-arginine signal peptide and disappeared upon transmembrane translocation. Our collective data are consistent with TatB forming an oligomeric binding site that transiently accommodates folded Tat precursors.
    Molecular biology of the cell 10/2010; 21(23):4151-61. · 5.98 Impact Factor
  • Sascha Panahandeh, Matthias Müller
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    ABSTRACT: A method is described for the preparation and usage of an E. coli cell-free translation system primed to incorporate the commercially available photoreactive analogue of phenyalanine, pBpa, into newly synthesized proteins. Incorporation is achieved by means of an amber suppressor tRNA specifically charged with pBpa. The method is exemplified for the site-specific photocross-linking of the signal sequence of a Tat (twin-arginine translocation) precursor protein to the Tat translocase in the cytoplasmic membrane of E. coli.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2010; 619:217-40. · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The twin-arginine translocation (Tat) machinery is able to transport fully folded proteins across bacterial and thylakoidal membranes. Previous in vivo and in vitro studies indicated that the model Tat substrate TorA-PhoA acquires Tat-competence only if its four cysteines form disulfide bonds. We now show that removal of the last 33 amino acids of PhoA, although not affecting the formation of disulfide bonds, converts TorA-PhoA into a poor Tat substrate. This finding suggests that even incomplete folding of a substrate can interfere with transport by the Tat translocase of Escherichia coli.
    FEBS letters 08/2009; 583(17):2849-53. · 3.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The twin-arginine translocation (Tat) machinery present in bacterial and thylakoidal membranes is able to transport fully folded proteins. Folding of some Tat precursor proteins requires dedicated chaperones that also sequester the signal sequence during the maturation process. Whether or not signal sequence-binding chaperones are a general prerequisite for all Tat substrate proteins is not known. Here, we have studied the propensity of Tat signal sequences of Escherichia coli to interact with general chaperones and peptidyl-prolyl-cis,trans-isomerases. Site-specific photocross-linking revealed a clear specificity for FK506-binding proteins. Nevertheless transport of the Tat substrate SufI into inverted inner membrane vesicles of E. coli was found to occur in the bona fide absence of any cytosolic chaperone. Our results suggest that in E. coli, cytosolic chaperones are not essential for the twin-arginine-dependent export of cofactor-less substrates.
    Biochemistry 06/2009; 48(23):5096-105. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The twin-arginine translocation (Tat) machinery present in bacterial and thylakoidal membranes is able to transport fully folded proteins. Consistent with previous in vivo data, we show that the model Tat substrate TorA-PhoA is translocated by the TatABC translocase of Escherichia coli inner membrane vesicles, only if the PhoA moiety was allowed to fold by disulfide bond formation. Although even unfolded TorA-PhoA was found to physically associate with the Tat translocase of the vesicles, site-specific cross-linking revealed a perturbed interaction of the signal sequence of unfolded TorA-PhoA with the TatBC receptor site. Some of the folded TorA-PhoA precursor accumulated in a partially protease-protected membrane environment, from where it could be translocated into the lumen of the vesicles upon re-installation of an H+-gradient. Translocation arrest occurred in immediate vicinity to TatA. Consistent with a neighborhood to TatA, TorA-PhoA remained protease-resistant in the presence of detergents that are known to preserve the oligomeric structures of TatA. Moreover, entry of TorA-PhoA to the protease-protected environment strictly required the presence of TatA. Collectively, our results are consistent with some degree of quality control by TatBC and a recruitment of TatA to a folded substrate that has functionally engaged the twin-arginine translocase.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2008; 283(48):33267-75. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We recently found that the spontaneous integration of M13 procoat is blocked by diacylglycerol (DAG) (Nishiyama, K., Ikegami, A., Moser, M., Schiltz, E., Tokuda, H., and Muller, M. (2006) J. Biol. Chem. 281, 35667-35676). Here, we demonstrate that the spontaneous integration of Pf3 coat, another membrane protein that has been thought to be integrated spontaneously into liposomes, can be blocked by DAG at physiological concentrations. Moreover, the spontaneous integration of the membrane potential-independent version of Pf3 coat (3L-Pf3 coat), which is independent of YidC, was also blocked by DAG. To clarify the mechanism by which DAG blocks spontaneous integration, we examined lipid compounds similar to DAG and DAG derivatives. The blockage of spontaneous integration was specific to DAG, as fatty acids, monoacylglycerol, and phosphatidic acids were not effective for the blockage. When the acyl chains in DAG were shortened even to octanoyl residues, it still blocked spontaneous integration, whereas diheptanoylglycerol did not block it at all. Triacylglycerol was more effective than DAG. However, the lipid A-derivative-dependent integration of M13 procoat could not be reconstituted when triacylglycerol was included in the liposomes. On the other hand, when DAG was included in the liposomes, we found that the integration of 3L-Pf3 coat was strictly dependent on the lipid A-derived integration factor. We propose that the bulky structure of DAG rather than changes in membrane curvature is essential for the blockage of spontaneous integration. We also demonstrated that the blockage of spontaneous integration by DAG is also operative in native membrane vesicles.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2008; 283(36):24489-96. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Sec translocon of Escherichia coli mediates the export of numerous secretory and membrane proteins. To dissect the passage of an exported protein across the Sec translocon into consecutive steps, we generated in vitro translocation intermediates of a polypeptide chain, which by its N-terminus is anchored in the membrane and by its C-terminus tethered to the ribosome. We find that in this situation, the motor protein SecA propagates translocation of a peptide loop across SecYEG prior to the removal of ribosomes. Upon SecA-driven exit from the translocon, this loop is brought into the immediate vicinity of the membrane-anchored, periplasmic chaperone PpiD. Consistent with a coupling between translocation across the SecYEG translocon and folding by periplasmic chaperones, a lack of PpiD retards the release of a translocating outer membrane protein into the periplasm.
    Biochemistry 06/2008; 47(20):5649-56. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Translocation of twin-arginine precursor proteins across the cytoplasmic membrane of Escherichia coli requires the three membrane proteins TatA, TatB, and TatC. TatC and TatB were shown to be involved in precursor binding. We have analyzed in vitro a number of single alanine substitutions in tatC that were previously shown to compromise in vivo the function of the Tat translocase. All tatC mutants that were defective in precursor translocation into cytoplasmic membrane vesicles concomitantly interfered with precursor binding not only to TatC but also to TatB. Hence structural changes of TatC that affect precursor targeting simultaneously abolish engagement of the twin-arginine signal sequence with TatB and block the formation of a functional Tat translocase. Since these phenotypes were observed for tatC mutations spread over the first half of TatC, this entire part of the molecule must globally be involved in precursor binding.
    Biochemistry 04/2007; 46(10):2892-8. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prokaryotic organisms possess a specialized protein translocase in their cytoplasmic membranes that catalyzes the export of folded preproteins. Substrates for this pathway are distinguished by a twin-arginine consensus motif in their signal peptides (twin-arginine translocation [Tat] pathway). We have compiled detailed protocols for the preparation and operation of a cell-free system by which the bacterial Tat pathway can be fully reproduced in vitro. This system has proven useful and is being further exploited for the study of precursor-translocase interactions, assembly of the translocase, and the mechanism of transmembrane passage.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 02/2007; 390:63-79. · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A cell-free system was developed that allows the correct integration of single and multispanning membrane proteins of Escherichia coli into proteoliposomes. We found that physiological levels of diacylglycerol were required to prevent spontaneous integration into liposomes even of the polytopic mannitol permease. Using diacylglycerol-containing proteoliposomes, we identified a novel integration-stimulating factor. Integration of mannitol permease was dependent on both the SecYEG translocon and this factor and was mediated by signal recognition particle and signal recognition particle receptor. Integration of M13 procoat, which is independent of both signal recognition particle/signal recognition particle receptor and SecYEG, was also promoted by this factor. Furthermore, the factor stimulated the post-translational translocation of presecretory proteins, suggesting that it also mediates integration of a signal sequence. This factor was found to be a lipid A-derived membrane component possessing a peptide moiety.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2006; 281(47):35667-76. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Different from cytoplasmic membrane proteins, presecretory proteins of bacteria usually do not require the signal recognition particle for targeting to the Sec translocon. Nevertheless signal sequences of presecretory proteins have been found in close proximity to signal recognition particle immediately after they have emerged from the ribosome. We show here that at the ribosome, the molecular environment of a signal sequence depends on the nature of downstream sequence elements that can cause an alternate recruitment of signal recognition particle and the ribosome-associated chaperone Trigger factor to a growing nascent chain. While signal recognition particle and Trigger factor might remain bound to the same ribosome, both ligands are clearly able to displace each other from a nascent chain. The data also imply that a signal sequence owes its molecular environment to the fact that it remains closely apposed to the ribosomal exit site during growth of a nascent secretory protein.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2006; 281(11):7172-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

781 Citations
124.97 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002–2013
    • University of Freiburg
      • Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
      Freiburg, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
  • 2005
    • Evangelische Hochschule Freiburg, Germany
      Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany