A selection that reports on protein-protein interactions within a thermophilic bacterium.
ABSTRACT: Many proteins can be split into fragments that exhibit enhanced function upon fusion to interacting proteins. While this strategy has been widely used to create protein-fragment complementation assays (PCAs) for discovering protein-protein interactions within mesophilic organisms, similar assays have not yet been developed for studying natural and engineered protein complexes at the temperatures where thermophilic microbes grow. We describe the development of a selection for protein-protein interactions within Thermus thermophilus that is based upon growth complementation by fragments of Thermotoga neapolitana adenylate kinase (AK(Tn)). Complementation studies with an engineered thermophile (PQN1) that is not viable above 75 degrees C because its adk gene has been replaced by a Geobacillus stearothermophilus ortholog revealed that growth could be restored at 78 degrees C by a vector that coexpresses polypeptides corresponding to residues 1-79 and 80-220 of AK(Tn). In contrast, PQN1 growth was not complemented by AK(Tn) fragments harboring a C156A mutation within the zinc-binding tetracysteine motif unless these fragments were fused to Thermotoga maritima chemotaxis proteins that heterodimerize (CheA and CheY) or homodimerize (CheX). This enhanced complementation is interpreted as arising from chemotaxis protein-protein interactions, since AK(Tn)-C156A fragments having only one polypeptide fused to a chemotaxis protein did not complement PQN1 to the same extent. This selection increases the maximum temperature where a PCA can be used to engineer thermostable protein complexes and to map protein-protein interactions.
Project description:The luciferase protein fragment complementation assay is a powerful tool for studying protein-protein interactions. Two inactive fragments of luciferase are genetically fused to interacting proteins, and when these two proteins interact, the luciferase fragments can reversibly associate and reconstitute enzyme activity. Though this technology has been used extensively in live eukaryotic cells, split luciferase complementation has not yet been applied to studies of dynamic protein-protein interactions in live bacteria. As proof of concept and to develop a new tool for studies of bacterial chemotaxis, fragments of Renilla luciferase (Rluc) were fused to the chemotaxis-associated response regulator CheY3 and its phosphatase CheZ in the enteric pathogen Vibrio cholerae. Luciferase activity was dependent on the presence of both CheY3 and CheZ fusion proteins, demonstrating the specificity of the assay. Furthermore, enzyme activity was markedly reduced in V. cholerae chemotaxis mutants, suggesting that this approach can measure defects in chemotactic signaling. However, attempts to measure changes in dynamic CheY3-CheZ interactions in response to various chemoeffectors were undermined by nonspecific inhibition of the full-length luciferase. These observations reveal an unexpected limitation of split Rluc complementation that may have implications for existing data and highlight the need for great caution when evaluating small molecule effects on dynamic protein-protein interactions using the split luciferase technology.
Project description:BACKGROUND:FliY is a flagellar rotor protein of the CheC phosphatase family. RESULTS:The FliY structure resembles that of the rotor protein FliM but contains two active centers for CheY dephosphorylation. CONCLUSION:FliY incorporates properties of the FliM/FliN rotor proteins and the CheC/CheX phosphatases to serve multiple functions in the flagellar switch. SIGNIFICANCE:FliY distinguishes flagellar architecture and function in different types of bacteria. Rotating flagella propel bacteria toward favorable environments. Sense of rotation is determined by the intracellular response regulator CheY, which when phosphorylated (CheY-P) interacts directly with the flagellar motor. In many different types of bacteria, the CheC/CheX/FliY (CXY) family of phosphatases terminates the CheY-P signal. Unlike CheC and CheX, FliY is localized in the flagellar switch complex, which also contains the stator-coupling protein FliG and the target of CheY-P, FliM. The 2.5 Å resolution crystal structure of the FliY catalytic domain from Thermotoga maritima bears strong resemblance to the middle domain of FliM. Regions of FliM that mediate contacts within the rotor compose the phosphatase active sites in FliY. Despite the similarity between FliY and FliM, FliY does not bind FliG and thus is unlikely to be a substitute for FliM in the center of the switch complex. Solution studies indicate that FliY dimerizes through its C-terminal domains, which resemble the Escherichia coli switch complex component FliN. FliY differs topologically from the E. coli chemotaxis phosphatase CheZ but appears to utilize similar structural motifs for CheY dephosphorylation in close analogy to CheX. Recognition properties and phosphatase activities of site-directed mutants identify two pseudosymmetric active sites in FliY (Glu(35)/Asn(38) and Glu(132)/Asn(135)), with the second site (Glu(132)/Asn(135)) being more active. A putative N-terminal CheY binding domain conserved with FliM is not required for binding CheY-P or phosphatase activity.
Project description:Borrelia burgdorferi possesses a sophisticated chemotaxis signaling system; however, the roles of the majority of the chemotaxis proteins in the infectious life cycle have not yet been demonstrated. Specifically, the role of CheD during host colonization has not been demonstrated in any bacterium. Here, we systematically characterized the B. burgdorferi CheD homolog using genetics and biochemical and mouse-tick-mouse infection cycle studies. Bacillus subtilis CheD plays an important role in chemotaxis by deamidation of methyl-accepting chemotaxis protein receptors (MCPs) and by increasing the receptor kinase activity or enhancing CheC phosphatase activity, thereby regulating the levels of the CheY response regulator. Our biochemical analysis indicates that B. burgdorferi CheD significantly enhances CheX phosphatase activity by specifically interacting with the phosphatase. Moreover, CheD specifically binds two of the six MCPs, indicating that CheD may also modulate the receptor proteins. Although the motility of the cheD mutant cells was indistinguishable from that of the wild-type cells, the mutant did exhibit reduced chemotaxis. Importantly, the mutant showed significantly reduced infectivity in C3H/HeN mice via needle inoculation. Mouse-tick-mouse infection assays indicated that CheD is dispensable for acquisition or transmission of spirochetes; however, the viability of cheD mutants in ticks is marginally reduced compared to that of the wild-type or complemented cheD spirochetes. These data suggest that CheD plays an important role in the chemotaxis and pathogenesis of B. burgdorferi We propose potential connections between CheD, CheX, and MCPs and discuss how these interactions play critical roles during the infectious life cycle of the spirochete.
Project description:Protein-fragment complementation is a valuable tool for monitoring protein interactions. In complementation assays, the reporter fragments are directly fused to the interacting proteins, eliminating the possibility of monitoring native interactions. In principle, complementation could be achieved by placing the reporter fragments on antibodies which bind to the proteins of interest, enabling the monitoring of endogenous protein interactions or detection of a single protein in a homogeneous immunoassay. Previous reports have demonstrated proof-of-concept of this approach; however, current complementation systems have not met the practical requirements as suitable fusion partners for antibodies while providing the sensitivity needed for immunoassays. To surmount these challenges, we created a first-in-class, tri-part split luciferase consisting of two 11-residue peptides that are used as the antibody appendages. As an initial proof-of-concept, we used antibody-peptide fusions and found them to be capable of quantifying pg/mL concentrations of soluble or cell-bound HER2, proving this unique complementation system overcomes previous limitations and transforms this approach from merely possible to practical and useful. As shown herein, this dual-peptide system provides a rapid, simple, and sensitive "add-and-read" homogeneous immunoassay platform that can be broadly adapted as an alternative to traditional immunoassays, and in the future should enable complementation to be expanded to monitoring endogenous protein interactions.
Project description:Bacteria switch the direction their flagella rotate to control movement. FliM, along with FliN and FliG, compose a complex in the motor that, upon binding phosphorylated CheY, reverses the sense of flagellar rotation. The 2.0-A resolution structure of the FliM middle domain (FliM(M)) from Thermotoga maritima reveals a pseudo-2-fold symmetric topology similar to the CheY phosphatases CheC and CheX. A variable structural element, which, in CheC, mediates binding to CheD (alpha2') and, in CheX, mediates dimerization (beta'(x)), has a truncated structure unique to FliM (alpha2'). An exposed helix of FliM(M) (alpha1) does not contain the catalytic residues of CheC and CheX but does include positions conserved in FliM sequences. Cross-linking experiments with site-directed cysteine mutants show that FliM self-associates through residues on alpha1 and alpha2'. CheY activated by BeF(3)(-) binds to FliM with approximately 40-fold higher affinity than CheY (K(d) = 0.04 microM vs. 2 microM). Mapping residue conservation, suppressor mutation sites, binding data, and deletion analysis onto the FliM(M) surface defines regions important for contacts with the stator-interacting protein FliG and for either counterclockwise or clockwise rotation. Association of 33-35 FliM subunits would generate a 44- to 45-nm-diameter disk, consistent with the known dimensions of the C-ring. The localization of counterclockwise- and clockwise-biasing mutations to distinct surfaces suggests that the binding of phosphorylated CheY cooperatively realigns FliM around the ring.
Project description:Protein interactions are essential components of signal transduction in cells. With the progress in genome-wide yeast two hybrid screens and proteomics analyses, many protein interaction networks have been generated. These analyses have identified hundreds and thousands of interactions in cells and organisms, creating a challenge for further validation under physiological conditions. The bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) assay is such an assay that meets this need. The BiFC assay is based on the principle of protein fragment complementation, in which two non-fluorescent fragments derived from a fluorescent protein are fused to a pair of interacting partners. When the two partners interact, the two non-fluorescent fragments are brought into proximity and an intact fluorescent protein is reconstituted. Hence, the reconstituted fluorescent signals reflect the interaction of two proteins under study. Over the past six years, the BiFC assay has been used for visualization of protein interactions in living cells and organisms, including our application of the BiFC assay to the transparent nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We have demonstrated that BiFC analysis in C. elegans provides a direct means to identify and validate protein interactions in living worms and allows visualization of temporal and spatial interactions. Here, we provide a guideline for the implementation of BiFC analysis in living worms and discuss the factors that are critical for BiFC analysis.
Project description:The secretory pathway is composed of membrane compartments specialized in protein folding, modification, transport, and sorting. Numerous transient protein-protein interactions guide the transport-competent proteins through the secretory pathway. Here we have adapted the yellow fluorescent protein (YFP)-based protein fragment complementation assay (PCA) to detect protein-protein interactions in the secretory pathway of living cells. Fragments of YFP were fused to the homooligomeric cargo-receptor lectin endoplasmic reticulum Golgi intermediate compartment (ERGIC)-53, to the ERGIC-53-interacting multi-coagulation factor deficiency protein MCFD2, and to ERGIC-53's cargo glycoprotein cathepsin Z. YFP PCA analysis revealed the oligomerization of ERGIC-53 and its interaction with MCFD2, as well as its lectin-mediated interaction with cathepsin Z. Mutation of the lectin domain of ERGIC-53 selectively decreased YFP complementation with cathepsin Z. Using YFP PCA, we discovered a carbohydrate-mediated interaction between ERGIC-53 and cathepsin C. We conclude that YFP PCA can detect weak and transient protein interactions in the secretory pathway and hence is a powerful approach to study luminal processes involved in protein secretion. The study extends the application of PCA to carbohydrate-mediated protein-protein interactions of low affinity.
Project description:G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) have the propensity to form homo- and heterodimers. Dysfunction of these dimers has been associated with multiple diseases, e.g., pre-eclampsia, schizophrenia, and depression, among others. Over the past two decades, considerable efforts have been made towards the development of screening assays for studying these GPCR dimer complexes in living cells. As a first step, a robust in vitro assay in an overexpression system is essential to identify and characterize specific GPCR-GPCR interactions, followed by methodologies to demonstrate association at endogenous levels and eventually in vivo. This review focuses on protein complementation assays (PCAs) which have been utilized to study GPCR oligomerization. These approaches are typically fluorescence- and luminescence-based, making identification and localization of protein-protein interactions feasible. The GPCRs of interest are fused to complementary fluorescent or luminescent fragments that, upon GPCR di- or oligomerization, may reconstitute to a functional reporter, of which the activity can be measured. Various protein complementation assays have the disadvantage that the interaction between the reconstituted split fragments is irreversible, which can lead to false positive read-outs. Reversible systems offer several advantages, as they do not only allow to follow the kinetics of GPCR-GPCR interactions, but also allow evaluation of receptor complex modulation by ligands (either agonists or antagonists). Protein complementation assays may be used for high throughput screenings as well, which is highly relevant given the growing interest and effort to identify small molecule drugs that could potentially target disease-relevant dimers. In addition to providing an overview on how PCAs have allowed to gain better insights into GPCR-GPCR interactions, this review also aims at providing practical guidance on how to perform PCA-based assays.
Project description:Bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) analysis enables visualization of the subcellular locations of protein interactions in living cells. Using fragments of different fluorescent proteins, we investigated the temporal resolution and the quantitative accuracy of BiFC analysis. We determined the kinetics of BiFC complex formation in response to the rapamycin-inducible interaction between the FK506 binding protein (FKBP) and the FKBP-rapamycin binding domain (FRB). Fragments of yellow fluorescent protein fused to FKBP and FRB produced detectable BiFC complex fluorescence 10 min after the addition of rapamycin and a 10-fold increase in the mean fluorescence intensity in 8 h. The N-terminal fragment of the Venus fluorescent protein fused to FKBP produced constitutive BiFC complexes with several C-terminal fragments fused to FRB. A chimeric N-terminal fragment containing residues from Venus and yellow fluorescent protein produced either constitutive or inducible BiFC complexes depending on the temperature at which the cells were cultured. The concentrations of inducers required for half-maximal induction of BiFC complex formation by all fluorescent protein fragments tested were consistent with the affinities of the inducers for unmodified FKBP and FRB. Treatment with the FK506 inhibitor of FKBP-FRB interaction prevented the formation of BiFC complexes by FKBP and FRB fusions, but did not disrupt existing BiFC complexes. Proteins synthesized before the addition of rapamycin formed BiFC complexes with the same efficiency as did newly synthesized proteins. Inhibitors of protein synthesis attenuated BiFC complex formation independent of their effects on fusion protein synthesis. The kinetics at which they inhibited BiFC complex formation suggests that they prevented association of the fluorescent protein fragments, but not the slow maturation of BiFC complex fluorescence. Agents that induce the unfolded protein response also reduced formation of BiFC complexes. The effects of these agents were suppressed by cellular adaptation to protein folding stress. In summary, BiFC analysis enables detection of protein interactions within minutes after complex formation in living cells, but does not allow detection of complex dissociation. Conditional BiFC complex formation depends on the folding efficiencies of fluorescent protein fragments and can be affected by the cellular protein folding environment.
Project description:In bacterial chemotaxis, transmembrane chemoreceptors, the CheA histidine kinase, and the CheW coupling protein assemble into signaling complexes that allow bacteria to modulate their swimming behavior in response to environmental stimuli. Among the protein-protein interactions in the ternary complex, CheA-CheW and CheW-receptor interactions were studied previously, whereas CheA-receptor interaction has been less investigated. Here, we characterize the CheA-receptor interaction in Thermotoga maritima by NMR spectroscopy and validate the identified receptor binding site of CheA in Escherichia coli chemotaxis. We find that CheA interacts with a chemoreceptor in a manner similar to that of CheW, and the receptor binding site of CheA's regulatory domain is homologous to that of CheW. Collectively, the receptor binding sites in the CheA-CheW complex suggest that conformational changes in CheA are required for assembly of the CheA-CheW-receptor ternary complex and CheA activation.