• Evidence for the assembly of a bacterial tripartite multidrug pump with a stoichiometry of 3:6:3.

      Janganan, Thamarai K.; Bavro, Vassiliy N; Zhang, Li; Matak-Vinkovic, Dijana; Barrera, Nelson P.; Venien-Bryan, Catherine; Robinson, Carol V.; Borges-Walmsley, Maria Ines; Walmsley, Adrian R.; University of Durham; et al. (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2011-07-29)
      The multiple transferable resistance (mTR) pump from Neisseria gonorrhoeae MtrCDE multidrug pump is assembled from the inner and outer membrane proteins MtrD and MtrE and the periplasmic membrane fusion protein MtrC. Previously we established that while there is a weak interaction of MtrD and MtrE, MtrC binds with relatively high affinity to both MtrD and MtrE. MtrD conferred antibiotic resistance only when it was expressed with MtrE and MtrC, suggesting that these proteins form a functional tripartite complex in which MtrC bridges MtrD and MtrE. Furthermore, we demonstrated that MtrC interacts with an intraprotomer groove on the surface of MtrE, inducing channel opening. However, a second groove is apparent at the interface of the MtrE subunits, which might also be capable of engaging MtrC. We have now established that MtrC can be cross-linked to cysteines placed in this interprotomer groove and that mutation of residues in the groove impair the ability of the pump to confer antibiotic resistance by locking MtrE in the closed channel conformation. Moreover, MtrE K390C forms an intermolecular disulfide bond with MtrC E149C locking MtrE in the open channel conformation, suggesting that a functional salt bridge forms between these residues during the transition from closed to open channel conformations. MtrC forms dimers that assemble into hexamers, and electron microscopy studies of single particles revealed that these hexamers are arranged into ring-like structures with an internal aperture sufficiently large to accommodate the MtrE trimer. Cross-linking of single cysteine mutants of MtrC to stabilize the dimer interface in the presence of MtrE, trapped an MtrC-MtrE complex with a molecular mass consistent with a stoichiometry of 3:6 (MtrE(3)MtrC(6)), suggesting that dimers of MtrC interact with MtrE, presumably by binding to the two grooves. As both MtrE and MtrD are trimeric, our studies suggest that the functional pump is assembled with a stoichiometry of 3:6:3.
    • Opening of the outer membrane protein channel in tripartite efflux pumps is induced by interaction with the membrane fusion partner

      Janganan, Thamarai K.; Zhang, Li; Bavro, Vassiliy N; Matak-Vinkovic, Dijana; Barrera, Nelson P.; Burton, Matthew F.; Steel, Patrick G.; Robinson, Carol V.; Borges-Walmsley, Maria Ines; Walmsley, Adrian R.; et al. (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2011-02-18)
      The multiple transferable resistance (MTR) pump, from Neisseria gonorrhoeae, is typical of the specialized machinery used to translocate drugs across the inner and outer membranes of Gram-negative bacteria. It consists of a tripartite complex composed of an inner-membrane transporter, MtrD, a periplasmic membrane fusion protein, MtrC, and an outer-membrane channel, MtrE. We have expressed the components of the pump in Escherichia coli and used the antibiotic vancomycin, which is too large to cross the outer-membrane by passive diffusion, to test for opening of the MtrE channel. Cells expressing MtrCDE are not susceptible to vancomycin, indicating that the channel is closed; but become susceptible to vancomycin in the presence of transported substrates, consistent with drug-induced opening of the MtrE channel. A mutational analysis identified residues Asn-198, Glu-434, and Gln-441, lining an intraprotomer groove on the surface of MtrE, to be important for pump function; mutation of these residues yielded cells that were sensitive to vancomycin. Pull-down assays and micro-calorimetry measurements indicated that this functional impairment is not due to the inability of MtrC to interact with the MtrE mutants; nor was it due to the MtrE mutants adopting an open conformation, because cells expressing these MtrE mutants alone are relatively insensitive to vancomycin. However, cells expressing the MtrE mutants with MtrC are sensitive to vancomycin, indicating that residues lining the intra-protomer groove control opening of the MtrE channel in response to binding of MtrC.
    • The Ov20 protein of the parasitic nematode Onchocerca volvulus - A structurally novel class of small helix-rich retinol-binding proteins

      Kennedy, Malcolm W.; Garside, Lisa H.; Goodrick, Lucy E.; McDermott, Lindsay C.; Brass, Andrew; Price, Nicholas C.; Kelly, Sharon M.; Cooper, Alan; Bradley, Jannette E.; University of Glasgow; et al. (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1997-11-21)
      Ov20 is a major antigen of the parasitic nematode Onchocerca volvulus, the causative agent of river blindness in humans, and the protein is secreted into the tissue occupied by the parasite. DNA encoding Ov20 was isolated, and the protein was expressed in Escherichia coli. Fluorescence-based ligand binding assays show that the protein contains a high affinity binding site for retinol, fluorescent fatty acids (11-((5-dimethylaminonaphthalene-1-sulfonyl)amino)undecanoic acid, dansyl-DL-alpha-aminocaprylic acid, and parinaric acid) and, by competition, oleic and arachidonic acids, but not cholesterol. The fluorescence emission of dansylated fatty acids is significantly blue-shifted upon binding in comparison to similarly sized beta-sheet-rich mammalian retinol- and fatty acid-binding proteins. Secondary structure prediction algorithms indicate that a alpha-helix predominates in Ov20, possibly in a coiled coil motif, with no evidence of beta structures, and this was confirmed by circular dichroism. The protein is highly stable in solution, requiring temperatures in excess of 90 degrees C or high denaturant concentrations for unfolding. Ov20 therefore represents a novel class of small retinol-binding protein, which appears to be confined to nematodes. The retinol binding activity of Ov20 could possibly contribute to the eye defects associated with onchocerciasis and, because there is no counterpart in mammals, represents a strategic target for chemotherapy.
    • Structural and functional analysis of fatty acid-binding proteins

      Storch, Judith; McDermott, Lindsay C.; Rutgers University; King's College London (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2009-04-30)
      The mammalian FA-binding proteins (FABPs) bind long-chain FA with high affinity. The large number of FABP types is suggestive of distinct functions in specific tissues. Multiple experimental approaches have shown that individual FABPs possess both unique and overlapping functions, some of which are based on specific elements in the protein structure. Although FA binding affinities for all FABPs tend to correlate directly with FA hydrophobicity, structure-function studies indicate that subtle three-dimensional changes that occur upon ligand binding may promote specific protein-protein or protein-membrane interactions that ultimately determine the function of each FABP. The conformational changes are focused in the FABP helical/portal domain, a region that was identified by in vitro studies to be vital for the FA transport properties of the FABPs. Thus, the FABPs modulate intracellular lipid homeostasis by regulating FA transport in the nuclear and extra-nuclear compartments of the cell; in so doing, they also impact systemic energy homeostasis.