Bettina Schiffler

University of Wuerzburg, Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany

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Publications (15)57.18 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Clostridium botulinum C2 toxin belongs to the family of binary AB type toxins that are structurally organized into distinct enzyme (A, C2I) and binding (B, C2II) components. The proteolytically activated 60-kDa C2II binding component is essential for C2I transport into target cells. It oligomerizes into heptamers and forms channels in lipid bilayer membranes. The C2II channel is cation-selective and can be blocked by chloroquine and related compounds. Residues 303-330 of C2II contain a conserved pattern of alternating hydrophobic and hydrophilic residues, which has been implicated in the formation of two amphipathic beta-strands involved in membrane insertion and channel formation. In the present study, C2II mutants created by substitution of different negatively charged amino acids by alanine-scanning mutagenesis were analyzed in artificial lipid bilayer membranes. The results suggested that most of the C2II mutants formed SDS-resistant oligomers (heptamers) similar to wild type. The mutated negatively charged amino acids did not influence channel properties with the exception of Glu(399) and Asp(426), which are probably localized in the vestibule near the channel entrance. These mutants show a dramatic decrease in their affinity for binding of chloroquine and its analogues. Similarly, F428A, which represents the Phi-clamp in anthrax protective antigen, was mutated in C2II in several other amino acids. The C2II mutants F428A, F428D, F428Y, and F428W not only showed altered chloroquine binding but also had drastically changed single channel properties. The results suggest that amino acids Glu(399), Asp(426), and Phe(428) have a major impact on the function of C2II as a binding protein for C2I delivery into target cells.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2008; 283(7):3904-14. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clostridium botulinum C2 toxin belongs to the family of binary AB type toxins that are structurally organized into distinct enzyme (A, C2I) and binding (B, C2II) components. The proteolytically activated 60-kDa C2II binding component is essential for C2I transport into target cells. It oligomerizes into heptamers and forms channels in lipid bilayer membranes. The C2II channel is cation-selective and can be blocked by chloroquine and related compounds. Residues 303–330 of C2II contain a conserved pattern of alternating hydrophobic and hydrophilic residues, which has been implicated in the formation of two amphipathic β-strands involved in membrane insertion and channel formation. In the present study, C2II mutants created by substitution of different negatively charged amino acids by alanine-scanning mutagenesis were analyzed in artificial lipid bilayer membranes. The results suggested that most of the C2II mutants formed SDS-resistant oligomers (heptamers) similar to wild type. The mutated negatively charged amino acids did not influence channel properties with the exception of Glu399 and Asp426, which are probably localized in the vestibule near the channel entrance. These mutants show a dramatic decrease in their affinity for binding of chloroquine and its analogues. Similarly, F428A, which represents the Φ-clamp in anthrax protective antigen, was mutated in C2II in several other amino acids. The C2II mutants F428A, F428D, F428Y, and F428W not only showed altered chloroquine binding but also had drastically changed single channel properties. The results suggest that amino acids Glu399, Asp426, and Phe428 have a major impact on the function of C2II as a binding protein for C2I delivery into target cells.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2008; 283(7):3904-3914. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    Bettina Schiffler, Enrico Barth, Mamadou Daffé, Roland Benz
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    ABSTRACT: The cell wall fraction of the gram-positive, nontoxic Corynebacterium diphtheriae strain C8r(-) Tox- (=ATCC 11913) contained a channel-forming protein, as judged from reconstitution experiments with artificial lipid bilayer experiments. The channel-forming protein was present in detergent-treated cell walls and in extracts of whole cells obtained using organic solvents. The protein had an apparent molecular mass of about 66 kDa as determined on Tricine-containing sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis gels and consisted of subunits having a molecular mass of about 5 kDa. Single-channel experiments with the purified protein suggested that the protein formed channels with a single-channel conductance of 2.25 nS in 1 M KCl. Further single-channel analysis suggested that the cell wall channel is wide and water filled because it has only slight selectivity for cations over anions and its conductance followed the mobility sequence of cations and anions in the aqueous phase. Antibodies raised against PorA, the subunit of the cell wall channel of Corynebacterium glutamicum, detected both monomers and oligomers of the isolated protein, suggesting that there are highly conserved epitopes in the cell wall channels of C. diphtheriae and PorA. Localization of the protein on the cell surface was confirmed by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The prospective homology of PorA with the cell wall channel of C. diphtheriae was used to identify the cell wall channel gene, cdporA, in the known genome of C. diphtheriae. The gene and its flanking regions were cloned and sequenced. CdporA is a protein that is 43 amino acids long and does not have a leader sequence. cdporA was expressed in a C. glutamicum strain that lacked the major outer membrane channels PorA and PorH. Organic solvent extracts of the transformed cells formed in lipid bilayer membranes the same channels as the purified CdporA protein of C. diphtheriae formed, suggesting that the expressed protein is able to complement the PorA and PorH deficiency of the C. glutamicum strain. The study is the first report of a cell wall channel in a pathogenic Corynebacterium strain.
    Journal of Bacteriology 12/2007; 189(21):7709-19. · 3.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Anthrax toxin complex consists of three different molecules, the binding component protective antigen (PA, 83 kDa), and the enzymatic components lethal factor (LF, 90 kDa) and edema factor (EF, 89 kDa). The 63-kDa N-terminal part of PA, PA(63), forms a heptameric channel that inserts at low pH in endosomal membranes and that is necessary to translocate EF and LF in the cytosol of the target cells. EF is an intracellular active enzyme, which is a calmodulin-dependent adenylate cyclase (89 kDa) that causes a dramatic increase of intracellular cAMP level. Here, the binding of full-length EF on heptameric PA(63) channels was studied in experiments with artificial lipid bilayer membranes. Full-length EF blocks the PA(63) channels in a dose, temperature, voltage, and ionic strength-dependent way with half-saturation constants in the nanomolar concentration range. EF only blocked the PA(63) channels when PA(63) and EF were added to the same side of the membrane, the cis side. Decreasing ionic strength and increasing transmembrane voltage at the cis side of the membranes resulted in a strong decrease of the half-saturation constant for EF binding. This result suggests that ion-ion interactions are involved in EF binding to the PA heptamer. Increasing temperature resulted in increasing half-saturation constants for EF binding to the PA(63) channels. The binding characteristics of EF to the PA(63) channels are compared with those of LF binding. The comparison exhibits similarities but also remarkable differences between the bindings of both toxins to the PA(63) channel.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2006; 281(43):32335-43. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The anthrax toxin complex consists of three different molecules, protective antigen (PA), lethal factor (LF), and edema factor (EF). The activated form of PA, PA(63), forms heptamers that insert at low pH in biological membranes forming ion channels and that are necessary to translocate EF and LF in the cell cytosol. LF and EF are intracellular active enzymes that inhibit the host immune system promoting bacterial outgrowth. Here, PA(63) was reconstituted into artificial lipid bilayer membranes and formed ion-permeable channels. The heptameric PA(63) channel contains a binding site for LF on the cis side of the channel. Full-size LF was found to block the PA(63) channel in a dose- and ionic-strength-dependent way with half-saturation constants in the nanomolar concentration range. The binding curves suggest a 1:1 relationship between (PA(63))(7) and bound LF that blocks the channel. The presence of a His(6) tag at the N-terminal end of LF strongly increases the affinity of LF toward the PA(63) channel, indicating that the interaction between LF and the PA(63) channel occurs at the N terminus of the enzyme. The LF-mediated block of the PA(63)-induced membrane conductance is highly asymmetric with respect to the sign of the applied transmembrane potential. The result suggested that the PA(63) heptamers contain a high-affinity binding site for LF inside domain 1 or the channel vestibule and that the binding is ionic-strength-dependent.
    Biochemistry 04/2006; 45(9):3060-8. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The binding component (Vip1Ac) of the ADP-ribosylating vegetative insecticidal protein (Vip) of Bacillus thuringiensis HD201 was isolated from the supernatant of cell cultures. Vip1Ac protein solubilized at room temperature ran as oligomers on SDS-PAGE. These oligomers were not resistant to heating. Mass spectroscopic analysis of this high molecular mass band identified it as Vip1Ac. The protein formed in artificial lipid bilayer membranes channels with two conductance states of about 350 and 700 pS in 1 M KCl. The channel conductance showed a linear dependence on the bulk aqueous KCl concentration, which indicated that the channel properties were more general than specific. Zero-current membrane potential measurements showed that the Vip1Ac channel has a slightly higher permeability for chloride than for potassium ions. Asymmetric addition of Vip1Ac to lipid bilayer membranes resulted in an asymmetric voltage dependence, indicating its full orientation within the membrane. The functional role of Vip1Ac and its relationship to other ADP-ribosylating toxins are discussed.
    Biochemistry 02/2006; 45(1):283-8. · 3.38 Impact Factor
  • Katrin Denker, Frank Orlik, Bettina Schiffler, Roland Benz
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    ABSTRACT: The 3D-structure of the maltooligosaccharide-specific LamB-channel of Escherichia coli (also called maltoporin) is known from X-ray crystallography. The 3D structure suggests that a number of aromatic residues (Y6, Y41, W74, F229, W358 and W420) within the channel lumen are involved in carbohydrate and ion transport. All aromatic residues were replaced by alanine-scanning mutagenesis. Furthermore, LamB mutants were created in which two, three, four, five and all six aromatic residues were replaced to study their effects on ion and maltopentaose transport through LamB. The purified mutant proteins were reconstituted into lipid bilayer membranes and the single-channel conductance of the mutants was studied in conductance experiments. The results suggest that all aromatic residues provide some steric hindrance for ion transport through LamB. Highest impact is provided by Y6 and Y41 that are localized opposite Y118, which form the central constriction of the LamB channel. Stability constants for binding of maltopentaose to the mutant channels were measured using titration experiments with the carbohydrate. The mutation of one or several aromatic residue(s) led to a substantial decrease of the stability constant of binding. The highest effect was observed when all aromatic residues were replaced by alanine because no binding of maltopentaose could be detected in such a case. However, binding was again possible when Y118 was replaced by tryptophan. The carbohydrate-induced block of the channel function could be used also for the study of current noise through the different mutant LamB-channels. The analysis of the power density spectra of some of the mutants allowed the evaluation of the on-rate and off-rate constants (k1 and k(-1)) of carbohydrate binding to the binding site inside the channels. The results suggest that both on-rate and off-rate constants were affected by the mutations. For most mutants, k1 decreased and k(-1) increased. The possible influence of the aromatic residues of the greasy slide on carbohydrate and ion transport through LamB is discussed.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 10/2005; 352(3):534-50. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Corynebacterium callunae and Corynebacterium efficiens are close relatives of the glutamate-producing mycolata species Corynebacterium glutamicum. The properties of the pore-forming proteins, extracted by organic solvents, were studied. The cell extracts contained channel-forming proteins that formed ion-permeable channels with a single-channel conductance of about 2 to 3 nS in 1 M KCl in a lipid bilayer assay. The corresponding proteins from both corynebacteria were purified to homogeneity and were named PorH(C.call) and PorH(C.eff). Electrophysiological studies of the channels suggested that they are wide and water-filled. Channels formed by PorH(C.call) are cation-selective, whereas PorH(C.eff) forms slightly anion-selective channels. Both proteins were partially sequenced. A multiple sequence alignment search within the known chromosome of C. efficiens demonstrated that it contains a gene that fits the partial amino acid sequence of PorH(C.eff). PorH(C.call) shows high homology to PorH(C.eff). PorH(C.eff) is encoded in the bacterial chromosome by a gene that is localized within the vicinity of the porA gene of C. efficiens. PorH(C.eff) has no signal sequence at the N terminus, which means that it is not exported by the Sec-secretion pathway. The structure of PorH in the cell wall of the corynebacteria is discussed.
    Microbiology 08/2005; 151(Pt 7):2429-38. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    Frank Orlik, Bettina Schiffler, Roland Benz
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    ABSTRACT: Protective antigen (PA) of the tripartite anthrax toxin binds to a cell surface receptor and mediates the transport of two enzymatic components, edema factor and lethal factor, into the cytosol of host cells. Here recombinant PA(63) from Bacillus anthracis was reconstituted into artificial lipid bilayer membranes and formed ion permeable channels. The heptameric PA(63)-channel contains a binding site for 4-aminoquinolones, which block ion transport through PA in vitro. This result allowed a detailed investigation of ligand binding and the stability constants for the binding of chloroquine, fluphenazine, and quinacrine to the binding site inside the PA(63)-channel were determined using titration experiments. Open PA(63)-channels exhibit 1/f noise in the frequency range between 1 and 100 Hz, whereas the spectral density of the ligand-induced current noise was of Lorentzian type. The analysis of the power density spectra allowed the evaluation of the on- and off-rate constants (k(1) and k(-1)) of ligand binding. The on-rate constants of ligand binding were between 10(6) and 10(8) M(-1) s(-1) and were dependent on the ionic strength of the aqueous phase, sidedness of ligand addition, as well as the orientation and intensity of the applied electric field. The off-rates varied between approximately 10 s(-1) and 2600 s(-1) and depended mainly on the structure of the ligand.
    Biophysical Journal 04/2005; 88(3):1715-24. · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial porins or voltage-dependent anion-selective channels are channel-forming proteins mainly found in the mitochondrial outer membrane. Genome sequencing of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster revealed the presence of three additional porin-like genes. No functional information was available for the different gene products. In this work we have studied the function of the gene product closest to the known Porin gene (CG17137 coding for DmPorin2). Its coding sequence was expressed in Escherichia coli. The recombinant DmPorin2 protein is able to form channels similar to those formed by DmPorin1 reconstituted in artificial membranes. Furthermore, DmPorin2 is clearly voltage-independent and cation-selective, whereas its counterpart isoform 1 is voltage-dependent and anion-selective. Sequence comparison of the two porin isoforms indicates the exchange of four lysines in DmPorin1 for four glutamic acids in DmPorin2. We have mutated two of them (Glu-66 and Glu-163) to lysines to investigate their role in the functional features of the pore. The mutants E163K and E66K/E163K are endowed with an almost full inversion of the ion selectivity. Both single mutations partially restore the voltage dependence of the pore. We found that an additional effect with the double mutant E66K/E163K was the restoration of voltage dependence. Protein structure predictions highlight a 16 beta-strand pattern, typical for porins. In a three-dimensional model of DmPorin2, Glu-66 and Glu-163 are close to the rim of the channel, on two opposite sides. DmPorin2 is expressed in all the fly tissues and in all the developmental stages tested. Our main conclusions are as follows. 1) The CG17137 gene may express a porin with a functional role in D. melanogaster. 2) We have identified two amino acids of major relevance for the voltage dependence of the porin pore.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2004; 279(24):25364-73. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have identified in organic solvent extracts of whole cells of the gram-positive pathogen Rhodococcus equi two channel-forming proteins with different and complementary properties. The isolated proteins were able to increase the specific conductance of artificial lipid bilayer membranes made from phosphatidylcholine-phosphatidylserine mixtures by the formation of channels able to be permeated by ions. The channel-forming protein PorA(Req) (R. equi pore A) is characterized by the formation of cation-selective channels, which are voltage gated. PorA(Req) has a single-channel conductance of 4 nS in 1 M KCl and shows high permeability for positively charged solutes because of the presence of negative point charges. According to the results of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), the protein has an apparent molecular mass of about 67 kDa. The analysis (using the effect of negative charges on channel conductance) of the concentration dependence of the single-channel conductance suggested that the diameter of the cell wall channel is about 2.0 nm. The second channel (formed by PorB(Req) [R. equi pore B]) shows a preferred movement of anions through the channel and is not voltage gated. This channel shows a single-channel conductance of 300 pS in 1 M KCl and is characterized by the presence of positive point charges in or near the channel mouth. Based on SDS-PAGE, the apparent molecular mass of the channel-forming protein is about 11 kDa. Channel-forming properties of the investigated cell wall porins were compared with those of others isolated from mycolic acid-containing actinomycetes. We present here the first report of a fully characterized anion-selective cell wall channel from a member of the order Actinomycetales.
    Journal of Bacteriology 06/2003; 185(9):2952-60. · 3.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: LamB (maltoporin) is essential for the uptake of maltose and malto-oligosaccharides across the outer membrane of Escherichia coli. Purified LamB was reconstituted in artificial lipid bilayer membranes forming channels in the permanently open configuration at neutral pH. Almost complete channel closure was observed when the pH on both sides of the membrane was lowered to pH 4. When LamB was added to only one side of the membrane, the cis-side, and the pH was lowered at either side of the membrane, the cis- or the trans-side, the response to pH was asymmetric, suggesting preferential orientation of maltoporin channels and pH- dependent closure of only one side of the channel. In experiments with LamB mutants in which major external loops L4, L6, and/or L9 were deleted, we identified the surface-exposed loops L4 and L6 as the cause of pH-mediated closure. The pH dependence of the LamB channel is consistent with the assumption that it inserts in a preferential orientation into the lipid bilayer. About 70-80% of the reconstituted channels are oriented with the extracellular entrance toward the side to which the protein was added (the cis-side) and with the periplasmic opening on the opposite side (the trans-side). The possibility of closing the channels, which are oriented in the reverse direction by low pH at the trans-side, allowed the deduction of channel asymmetry with respect to carbohydrate binding kinetics. Whereas maltose binding was found to be almost symmetric with respect to the channel orientation, the sucrose and trehalose binding to LamB was asymmetric. The results are discussed in respect to possible physiological function of the pH-dependent closure of maltoporin.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2002; 277(44):41318-25. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: LamB of Escherichia coli K12, also called maltoporin, is an outer membrane protein, which specifically facilitates the diffusion of maltose and maltodextrin through the bacterial outer membrane. Each monomer is composed of an 18-stranded antiparallel β-barrel. In the present work, on the basis of the known X-ray structure of LamB, the effects of modifications of the β-barrel domain of maltoporin were studied in vivo and in vitro. We show that: (i) the substitution of the pair of strands β13–β14 of the E. coli maltoporin with the corresponding pair of strands from the functionally related maltoporin of Salmonella typhimurium yielded a protein active in vivo and in vitro; and (ii) the removal of one pair of β-strands (deletion β13–β14) from the E. coli maltoporin, or its replacement by a pair of strands from the general porin OmpF of E. coli, leads to recombinant proteins that lost in vivo maltoporin activities but still kept channel formation and carbohydrate binding in vitro. We also inserted into deletion β13–β14 the portion of the E. coli LamB protein comprising strands β13 to β16. This resulted in a protein expected to have 20 β-strands and which completely lost all LamB-specific activities in vivo and in vitro.
    Molecular Microbiology 01/2002; 35(4):777 - 790. · 5.03 Impact Factor
  • F G Riess, U Dörner, B Schiffler, R Benz
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    ABSTRACT: The gram-positive bacterium Mycobacterium phlei was treated with detergents. Reconstitution experiments using lipid bilayers suggested that the detergent extracts contain a channel forming protein. The protein was purified to homogeneity by preparative SDS-PAGE and identified as a protein with an apparent molecular mass of about 135 kDa. The channel-forming unit dissociated into subunits with a molecular mass of about 22 kDa when it was boiled in 80% dimethylsulfoxid (DMSO). The channel has on average a single channel conductance of 4.5 nS in 1 m KCl and is highly voltage-dependent in an asymmetric fashion when the protein is added to only one side of the membrane. Zero-current membrane potential measurements with different salts implied that the channel is highly cation-selective because of negative point charges in or near the channel mouth. Analysis of the single-channel conductance as a function of the hydrated cation radii using the Renkin correction factor and the effect of the negative point charges on the single-channel conductance suggest that the diameter of the cell wall channel is about 1.8 to 2.0 nm. The channel properties were compared with those of other members of the mycolata and suggest that these channels share common features. Southern blots demonstrated that the chromosome of M. phlei and other mycolata tested contain homologous sequences to mspA (gene of the cell wall porin of Mycobacterium smegmatis).
    Journal of Membrane Biology 08/2001; 182(2):147-57. · 2.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: With the recent success of the heterologous expression of mycobacterial antigens in corynebacteria, in addition to the importance of these bacteria in biotechnology and medicine, a better understanding of the structure of their cell envelopes was needed. A combination of molecular compositional analysis, ultrastructural appearance and freeze-etch electron microscopy study was used to arrive at a chemical model, unique to corynebacteria but consistent with their phylogenetic relatedness to mycobacteria and other members of the distinctive suprageneric actinomycete taxon. Transmission electron microscopy and chemical analyses showed that the cell envelopes of the representative strains of corynebacteria examined consisted of (i) an outer layer composed of polysaccharides (primarily a high-molecular-mass glucan and arabinomannans), proteins, which include the mycoloyltransferase PS1, and lipids; (ii) a cell wall glycan core of peptidoglycan-arabinogalactan which may contain other sugar residues and was usually esterified by corynomycolic acids; and (iii) a typical plasma membrane bilayer. Freeze-etch electron microscopy showed that most corynomycolate-containing strains exhibited a main fracture plane in their cell wall and contained low-molecular-mass porins, while the fracture occurred within the plasma membrane of strains devoid of both corynomycolate and pore-forming proteins. Importantly, in most strains, the amount of cell wall-linked corynomycolates was not sufficient to cover the bacterial surface; interestingly, the occurrence of a cell wall fracture plane correlated with the amount of non-covalently bound lipids of the strains. Furthermore, these lipids were shown to spontaneously form liposomes, indicating that they may participate in a bilayer structure. Altogether, the data suggested that the cell wall permeability barrier in corynebacteria involved both covalently linked corynomycolates and non-covalently bound lipids of their cell envelopes.
    Microbiology 06/2001; 147(Pt 5):1365-82. · 2.85 Impact Factor