Assembly and channel opening in a bacterial drug efflux machine.
ABSTRACT: Drugs and certain proteins are transported across the membranes of Gram-negative bacteria by energy-activated pumps. The outer membrane component of these pumps is a channel that opens from a sealed resting state during the transport process. We describe two crystal structures of the Escherichia coli outer membrane protein TolC in its partially open state. Opening is accompanied by the exposure of three shallow intraprotomer grooves in the TolC trimer, where our mutagenesis data identify a contact point with the periplasmic component of a drug efflux pump, AcrA. We suggest that the assembly of multidrug efflux pumps is accompanied by induced fit of TolC driven mainly by accommodation of the periplasmic component.
Project description:Intrinsic resistance to multiple drugs in many gram-negative bacterial pathogens is conferred by resistance nodulation cell division efflux pumps, which are composed of three essential components as typified by the extensively characterized Escherichia coli AcrA-AcrB-TolC system. The inner membrane drug:proton antiporter AcrB and the outer membrane channel TolC export chemically diverse compounds out of the bacterial cell, and require the activity of the third component, the periplasmic protein AcrA. The crystal structures of AcrB and TolC have previously been determined, and we complete the molecular picture of the efflux system by presenting the structure of a stable fragment of AcrA. The AcrA fragment resembles the elongated sickle shape of its homolog Pseudomonas aeruginosa MexA, being composed of three domains: beta-barrel, lipoyl, and alpha-helical hairpin. Notably, unsuspected conformational flexibility in the alpha-helical hairpin domain of AcrA is observed, which has potential mechanistic significance in coupling between AcrA conformations and TolC channel opening.
Project description:In Gram-negative pathogens, multidrug efflux pumps that provide clinically significant levels of antibiotic resistance function as three-component complexes. They are composed of the inner membrane transporters belonging to one of three superfamilies of proteins, RND, ABC, or MF; periplasmic proteins belonging to the membrane fusion protein (MFP) family; and outer membrane channels exemplified by the Escherichia coli TolC. The three-component complexes span the entire two-membrane envelope of Gram-negative bacteria and expel toxic molecules from the cytoplasmic membrane to the medium. The architecture of these complexes is expected to vary significantly because of the structural diversity of the inner membrane transporters. How the three-component pumps are assembled, their architecture, and their dynamics remain unclear. In this study, we reconstituted interactions and compared binding kinetics of the E. coli TolC with AcrA, MacA, and EmrA, the periplasmic MFPs that function in multidrug efflux with transporters from the RND, ABC, and MF superfamilies, respectively. By using surface plasmon resonance, we demonstrate that TolC interactions with MFPs are highly dynamic and sensitive to pH. The affinity of TolC to MFPs decreases in the order MacA > EmrA > AcrA. We further show that MFPs are prone to oligomerization, but differ dramatically from each other in oligomerization kinetics and stability of oligomers. The propensity of MFPs to oligomerize correlates with the stability of MFP-TolC complexes and structural features of inner membrane transporters. We propose that recruitment of TolC by various MFPs is determined not only by kinetics of MFP-TolC interactions but also by oligomerization kinetics of MFPs and pH.
Project description:Swarming is a form of collective bacterial motion enabled by flagella on the surface of semi-solid media. Swarming populations exhibit non-genetic or adaptive resistance to antibiotics, despite sustaining considerable cell death. Here, we show that antibiotic-induced death of a sub-population benefits the swarm by enhancing adaptive resistance in the surviving cells. Killed cells release a resistance-enhancing factor that we identify as AcrA, a periplasmic component of RND efflux pumps. The released AcrA interacts on the surface of live cells with an outer membrane component of the efflux pump, TolC, stimulating drug efflux and inducing expression of other efflux pumps. This phenomenon, which we call 'necrosignaling', exists in other Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria and displays species-specificity. Given that adaptive resistance is a known incubator for evolving genetic resistance, our findings might be clinically relevant to the rise of multidrug resistance.
Project description:Multidrug efflux pumps adversely affect both the clinical effectiveness of existing antibiotics and the discovery process to find new ones. In this study, we reconstituted and characterized by surface plasmon resonance the assembly of AcrAB-TolC, the archetypal multidrug efflux pump from Escherichia coli. We report that the periplasmic AcrA and the outer membrane channel TolC assemble high-affinity complexes with AcrB transporter independently from each other. Antibiotic novobiocin and MC-207,110 inhibitor bind to the immobilized AcrB but do not affect interactions between components of the complex. In contrast, DARPin inhibits interactions between AcrA and AcrB. Mutational opening of TolC channel decreases stability of interactions and promotes disassembly of the complex. The conformation of the membrane proximal domain of AcrA is critical for the formation of AcrAB-TolC and could be targeted for the development of new inhibitors.
Project description:Bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa expel antibiotics and other inhibitors via tripartite multidrug efflux pumps spanning the inner and outer membranes and the intervening periplasmic space. A key event in pump assembly is the recruitment of an outer membrane-anchored TolC exit duct by the adaptor protein of a cognate inner membrane translocase, establishing a contiguous transenvelope efflux pore. We describe the underlying interaction of juxtaposed periplasmic exit duct and adaptor coiled-coils in the widespread RND-type pump TolC/AcrAB of E. coli, using in vivo cross-linking to map the extent of intermolecular contacts. Cross-linking of site-specific TolC cysteine variants to wild-type AcrA adaptor identified residues on the lower alpha-helical barrel domain of TolC, defining a contiguous cluster close to the entrance aperture of the exit duct. Reciprocally, site-specific cross-linking of AcrA cysteine variants to wild-type TolC identified the interaction surface on the adaptor within the N-terminal alpha-helix of the AcrA coiled-coil. The experimental data allowed a data-driven docking approach to model the interaction surface central to pump assembly. The lowest energy docked model satisfying all of the cross-link distance constraints places the adaptor at the intramolecular groove formed by the TolC entrance helices, aligning the adaptor coiled-coil with the exposed TolC outer helix. A key feature of this positioning is that it allows space for the proposed movement of the inner coil of TolC during transition to its open state.
Project description:Bacteria like Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa expel drugs via tripartite multidrug efflux pumps spanning both inner and outer membranes and the intervening periplasm. In these pumps a periplasmic adaptor protein connects a substrate-binding inner membrane transporter to an outer membrane-anchored TolC-type exit duct. High-resolution structures of all 3 components are available, but a pump model has been precluded by the incomplete adaptor structure, because of the apparent disorder of its N and C termini. We reveal that the adaptor termini assemble a beta-roll structure forming the final domain adjacent to the inner membrane. The completed structure enabled in vivo cross-linking to map intermolecular contacts between the adaptor AcrA and the transporter AcrB, defining a periplasmic interface between several transporter subdomains and the contiguous beta-roll, beta-barrel, and lipoyl domains of the adaptor. With short and long cross-links expressed as distance restraints, the flexible linear topology of the adaptor allowed a multidomain docking approach to model the transporter-adaptor complex, revealing that the adaptor docks to a transporter region of comparative stability distinct from those key to the proposed rotatory pump mechanism, putative drug-binding pockets, and the binding site of inhibitory DARPins. Finally, we combined this docking with our previous resolution of the AcrA hairpin-TolC interaction to develop a model of the assembled tripartite complex, satisfying all of the experimentally-derived distance constraints. This AcrA(3)-AcrB(3)-TolC(3) model presents a 610,000-Da, 270-A-long efflux pump crossing the entire bacterial cell envelope.
Project description:In Escherichia coli, the TolC-AcrAB complex forms a major antibiotic efflux system with broad substrate specificity. During the complex assembly, the periplasmic helices and bottom turns of TolC are thought to interact with a hairpin helix of AcrA and hairpin loops of AcrB respectively. In the present study we show that a four-residue substitution in TolC's turn 1, which connects outer helices 3 and 4 proximal to TolC's periplasmic aperture, confers antibiotic hypersensitivity, without affecting TolC-mediated phage or colicin infection. However, despite the null-like drug sensitivity phenotype, chemical cross-linking analysis revealed no apparent defects in the ability of the mutant TolC protein to physically interact with AcrA and AcrB. A role for TolC turn 1 residues in the functional assembly of the tripartite efflux pump complex was uncovered through isolating suppressor mutations of the mutant TolC protein that mapped within acrA and by utilizing a labile AcrA protein. The data showed that AcrA-mediated suppression of antibiotic sensitivity was achieved by dilating the TolC aperture/channel in an AcrB-dependent manner. The results underscore the importance of the periplasmic turn 1 of TolC in the functional assembly of the tripartite efflux complex and AcrA in transitioning TolC from its closed to open state.
Project description:Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to human welfare. Inhibitors of multidrug efflux pumps (EPIs) are promising alternative therapeutics that could revive activities of antibiotics and reduce bacterial virulence. Identification of new druggable sites for inhibition is critical for the development of effective EPIs, especially in light of constantly emerging resistance. Here, we describe EPIs that interact with periplasmic membrane fusion proteins, critical components of efflux pumps that are responsible for the activation of the transporter and the recruitment of the outer-membrane channel. The discovered EPIs bind to AcrA, a component of the prototypical AcrAB-TolC pump, change its structure in vivo, inhibit efflux of fluorescent probes, and potentiate the activities of antibiotics in Escherichia coli and other Gram-negative bacteria. Our findings expand the chemical and mechanistic diversity of EPIs, suggest the mechanism for regulation of the efflux pump assembly and activity, and provide a promising path for reviving the activities of antibiotics in resistant bacteria.
Project description:Multidrug efflux transporters, especially those that belong to the resistance-nodulation-division (RND) family, often show very broad substrate specificity and play a major role both in the intrinsic antibiotic resistance and, with increased levels of expression, in the elevated resistance of Gram-negative bacteria. However, it has not been possible to determine the kinetic behavior of these important pumps so far. This is partly because these pumps form a tripartite complex traversing both the cytoplasmic and outer membranes, with an outer membrane channel and a periplasmic adaptor protein, and it is uncertain if the behavior of an isolated component protein reflects that of the protein in this multiprotein complex. Here we use intact cells of Escherichia coli containing the intact multiprotein complex AcrB-AcrA-TolC, and measure the kinetic constants for various cephalosporins, by assessing the periplasmic concentration of the drug from their rate of hydrolysis by periplasmic beta-lactamase and the rate of efflux as the difference between the influx rate and the hydrolysis rate. Nitrocefin efflux showed a K(m) of about 5 microM with little sign of cooperativity. For other compounds (cephalothin, cefamandole, and cephaloridine) that showed lower affinity to the pump, however, kinetics showed strong positive cooperativity, which is consistent with the rotating catalysis model of this trimeric pump. For the very hydrophilic cefazolin there was little sign of efflux.
Project description:Gram-negative bacteria expel diverse toxic chemicals through the tripartite efflux pumps spanning both the inner and outer membranes. The Escherichia coli AcrAB-TolC pump is the principal multidrug exporter that confers intrinsic drug tolerance to the bacteria. The inner membrane transporter AcrB requires the outer membrane factor TolC and the periplasmic adapter protein AcrA. However, it remains ambiguous how the three proteins are assembled. In this study, a hexameric model of the adapter protein was generated based on the propensity for trimerization of a dimeric unit, and this model was further validated by presenting its channel-forming property that determines the substrate specificity. Genetic, in vitro complementation, and electron microscopic studies provided evidence for the binding of the hexameric adapter protein to the outer membrane factor in an intermeshing cogwheel manner. Structural analyses suggested that the adapter covers the periplasmic region of the inner membrane transporter. Taken together, we propose an adapter bridging model for the assembly of the tripartite pump, where the adapter protein provides a bridging channel and induces the channel opening of the outer membrane factor in the intermeshing tip-to-tip manner.