[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacterial α-2-macroglobulins have been suggested to function in defence as broad-spectrum inhibitors of host proteases that breach the outer membrane. Here, the X-ray structure of protease-cleaved
α-2-macroglobulin is described, which reveals a putative mechanism of activation and conformational change essential for protease inhibition. In this competitive mechanism, protease cleavage of the bait-region domain results in the untethering of an intrinsically disordered region of this domain which disrupts native interdomain interactions that maintain
α-2-macroglobulin in the inactivated form. The resulting global conformational change results in entrapment of the protease and activation of the thioester bond that covalently links to the attacking protease. Owing to the similarity in structure and domain architecture of
α-2-macroglobulin and human α-2-macroglobulin, this protease-activation mechanism is likely to operate across the diverse members of this group.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: TamB is a recently described inner membrane protein that, together with its partner protein TamA, is required for the efficient secretion of a subset of autotransporter proteins in Gram-negative bacteria. In this study, the C-terminal DUF490963–1138 domain of TamB was overexpressed in Escherichia coli K-12, purified and crystallized using the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method. The crystals belonged to the primitive trigonal space group P3121, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 57.34, c = 220.74 Å, and diffracted to 2.1 Å resolution. Preliminary secondary-structure and X-ray diffraction analyses are reported. Two molecules are predicted to be present in the asymmetric unit. Experimental phasing using selenomethionine-labelled protein will be undertaken in the future.
Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications 09/2014; 70(9):1272-1275. DOI:10.1107/S2053230X14017403 · 0.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacteria have mechanisms to export proteins for diverse purposes, including colonization of hosts and pathogenesis. A small number of archetypal bacterial secretion machines have been found in several groups of bacteria and mediate a fundamentally distinct secretion process. Perhaps erroneously, proteins called 'autotransporters' have long been thought to be one of these protein secretion systems. Mounting evidence suggests that autotransporters might be substrates to be secreted, not an autonomous transporter system. We have discovered a new translocation and assembly module (TAM) that promotes efficient secretion of autotransporters in proteobacteria. Functional analysis of the TAM in Citrobacter rodentium, Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli showed that it consists of an Omp85-family protein, TamA, in the outer membrane and TamB in the inner membrane of diverse bacterial species. The discovery of the TAM provides a new target for the development of therapies to inhibit colonization by bacterial pathogens.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mechanism(s) by which nuclease colicins translocate distinct cytotoxic enzymes (DNases, rRNases, and tRNases) to the cytoplasm of Escherichia coli is unknown. Previous in vitro investigations on isolated colicin nuclease domains have shown that they have a strong propensity to associate with anionic phospholipid vesicles, implying that electrostatic interactions with biological membranes play a role in their import. In the present work we set out to test this hypothesis in vivo. We show that cell killing by the DNase toxin colicin E9 of E. coli HDL11, a strain in which the level of anionic phospholipid and hence inner membrane charge is regulated by isopropyl beta-D-thiogalactopyranoside induction, is critically dependent on the level of inducer, whereas this is not the case for pore-forming colicins that take the same basic route into the periplasm. Moreover, there is a strong correlation between the level and rate of HDL11 cell killing and the net positive charge on a colicin DNase, with similar effects seen for wild type E. coli cells, data that are consistent with a direct, electrostatically mediated interaction between colicin nucleases and the bacterial inner membrane. We next sought to identify how membrane-associated colicin nucleases might be translocated into the cell. We show that neither the Sec or Tat systems are involved in nuclease colicin uptake but that nuclease colicin toxicity is instead dependent on functional FtsH, an inner membrane AAA(+) ATPase and protease that dislocates misfolded membrane proteins to the cytoplasm for destruction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domain mediates inter-protein associations in a number of systems. The domain is also thought to mediate oligomerization of some proteins, but this has remained controversial, with conflicting data appearing in the literature. By way of investigating such TPR-mediated self-associations we used a variety of biophysical techniques to characterize purified recombinant Sgt1, a TPR-containing protein found in all eukaryotes that is involved in a broad range of biological processes, including kinetochore assembly in humans and yeast and disease resistance in plants. We show that recombinant Sgt1 from Arabidopsis, barley, and yeast self-associates in vitro while recombinant human Sgt1 does not. Further experiments on barley Sgt1 demonstrate unambiguously a TPR-mediated dimerization, which is concentration- and ionic-strength-dependent and results in a global increase in helical structure and stability of the protein. Dimerization is also redox sensitive, being completely abolished by the formation of an intramolecular disulfide bond where the contributing cysteines are conserved in plant Sgt1s. The dimer interface was mapped through cross-linking and mass spectrometry to the C-terminal region of the TPR domain. Our study, which provides the first biophysical characterization of plant Sgt1, highlights how TPR domains can mediate self-association in solution and that sequence variation in the regions involved in oligomerization affects the propensity of TPR-containing proteins to dimerize.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nuclease type colicins and related bacteriocins possess the unprecedented ability to translocate an enzymatic polypeptide chain across the Gram-negative cell envelope. Here we use the rRNase domain of the cytotoxic ribonuclease colicin E3 to examine the structural changes on its interaction with the membrane. Using phospholipid vesicles as model membranes we show that anionic membranes destabilize the nuclease domain of the rRNase type colicin E3. Intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence and circular dichroism show that vesicles consisting of pure DOPA act as a powerful protein denaturant toward the rRNase domain, although this interaction can be entirely prevented by the addition of salt. Binding of E3 rRNase to DOPA vesicles is an endothermic process (DeltaH=24 kcal mol-1), reflecting unfolding of the protein. Consistent with this, binding of a highly destabilized mutant of the E3 rRNase to DOPA vesicles is exothermic. With mixed vesicles containing anionic and neutral phospholipids at a ratio of 1:3, set to mimic the charge of the Escherichia coli inner membrane, destabilization of E3 rRNase is lessened, although the melting temperature of the protein at pH 7.0 is greatly reduced from 50 degrees C to 30 degrees C. The interaction of E3 rRNase with 1:3 DOPA:DOPC vesicles is also highly dependent on both ionic strength and temperature. We discuss these results in terms of the likely interaction of the E3 rRNase and the related E9 DNase domains with the E. coli inner membrane and their subsequent translocation to the cell cytoplasm.
Protein Science 04/2006; 15(3):620-7. DOI:10.1110/ps.051890306 · 2.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have shown previously that the 134-residue endonuclease domain of the bacterial cytotoxin colicin E9 (E9 DNase) forms channels in planar lipid bilayers (Mosbahi, K., Lemaître, C., Keeble, A. H., Mobasheri, H., Morel, B., James, R., Moore, G. R., Lea, E. J., and Kleanthous, C. (2002) Nat. Struct. Biol. 9, 476-484). It was proposed that the E9 DNase mediates its own translocation across the cytoplasmic membrane and that the formation of ion channels is essential to this process. Here we describe changes to the structure and stability of the E9 DNase that accompany interaction of the protein with phospholipid vesicles. Formation of the protein-lipid complex at pH 7.5 resulted in a red-shift of the intrinsic protein fluorescence emission maximum (lambda(max)) from 333 to 346 nm. At pH 4.0, where the E9 DNase lacks tertiary structure but retains secondary structure, DOPG induced a blue-shift in lambda(max), from 354 to 342 nm. Changes in lambda(max) were specific for anionic phospholipid vesicles at both pHs, suggesting electrostatics play a role in this association. The effects of phospholipid were negated by Im9 binding, the high affinity, acidic, exosite inhibitor protein, but not by zinc, which binds at the active site. Fluorescence-quenching experiments further demonstrated that similar protein-phospholipid complexes are formed regardless of whether the E9 DNase is initially in its native conformation. Consistent with these observations, chemical and thermal denaturation data as well as proteolytic susceptibility experiments showed that association with negatively charged phospholipids destabilize the E9 DNase. We suggest that formation of a destabilizing protein-lipid complex pre-empts channel formation by the E9 DNase and constitutes the initial step in its translocation across the Escherichia coli inner membrane.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacterial toxins commonly translocate cytotoxic enzymes into cells using channel-forming subunits or domains as conduits. Here we demonstrate that the small cytotoxic endonuclease domain from the bacterial toxin colicin E9 (E9 DNase) shows nonvoltage-gated, channel-forming activity in planar lipid bilayers that is linked to toxin translocation into cells. A disulfide bond engineered into the DNase abolished channel activity and colicin toxicity but left endonuclease activity unaffected; NMR experiments suggest decreased conformational flexibility as the likely reason for these alterations. Concomitant with the reduction of the disulfide bond is the restoration of conformational flexibility, DNase channel activity and colicin toxicity. Our data suggest that endonuclease domains of colicins may mediate their own translocation across the bacterial inner membrane through an intrinsic channel activity that is dependent on structural plasticity in the protein.