Genetic characterization of conserved charged residues in the bacterial flagellar type III export protein FlhA.
ABSTRACT: For assembly of the bacterial flagellum, most of flagellar proteins are transported to the distal end of the flagellum by the flagellar type III protein export apparatus powered by proton motive force (PMF) across the cytoplasmic membrane. FlhA is an integral membrane protein of the export apparatus and is involved in an early stage of the export process along with three soluble proteins, FliH, FliI, and FliJ, but the energy coupling mechanism remains unknown. Here, we carried out site-directed mutagenesis of eight, highly conserved charged residues in putative juxta- and trans-membrane helices of FlhA. Only Asp-208 was an essential acidic residue. Most of the FlhA substitutions were tolerated, but resulted in loss-of-function in the ?fliH-fliI mutant background, even with the second-site flhB(P28T) mutation that increases the probability of flagellar protein export in the absence of FliH and FliI. The addition of FliH and FliI allowed the D45A, R85A, R94K and R270A mutant proteins to work even in the presence of the flhB(P28T) mutation. Suppressor analysis of a flhA(K203W) mutation showed an interaction between FlhA and FliR. Taken all together, we suggest that Asp-208 is directly involved in PMF-driven protein export and that the cooperative interactions of FlhA with FlhB, FliH, FliI, and FliR drive the translocation of export substrate.
Project description:The FliI ATPase of the flagellar type III protein export apparatus forms the FliH2FliI complex along with its regulator FliH. The FliH2FliI complex is postulated to bring export substrates from the cytoplasm to the docking platform made of FlhA and FlhB although not essential for flagellar protein export. Here, to clarify the role of the FliH2FliI complex in flagellar assembly, we analysed the effect of FliH and FliI deletion on flagellar protein export and assembly. The hook length was not controlled properly in the ?fliH-fliI flhB(P28T) mutant compared to wild-type cells, whose hook length is controlled to about 55?nm within 10% error. The FlhA(F459A) mutation increased the export level of the hook protein FlgE and the ruler protein FliK by about 10-fold and 3-fold, respectively, and improved the hook length control in the absence of FliH and FliI. However, the ?fliH-fliI flhB(P28T) flhA(F459A) mutant did not produce flagellar filaments efficiently, and a large amount of flagellin monomers were leaked out into the culture media. Neither the hook length control nor flagellin leakage was affected by the FlhB(P28T) and FlhA(F459A) mutations. We will discuss a hierarchical protein export mechanism of the bacterial flagellum.
Project description:For construction of the bacterial flagellum, flagellar proteins are exported via its specific export apparatus from the cytoplasm to the distal end of the growing flagellar structure. The flagellar export apparatus consists of a transmembrane (TM) export gate complex and a cytoplasmic ATPase complex consisting of FliH, FliI, and FliJ. FlhA is a TM export gate protein and plays important roles in energy coupling of protein translocation. However, the energy coupling mechanism remains unknown. Here, we performed a cross-complementation assay to measure robustness of the energy transduction system of the export apparatus against genetic perturbations. Vibrio FlhA restored motility of a Salmonella ?flhA mutant but not that of a ?fliH-fliI flhB(P28T) ?flhA mutant. The flgM mutations significantly increased flagellar gene expression levels, allowing Vibrio FlhA to exert its export activity in the ?fliH-fliI flhB(P28T) ?flhA mutant. Pull-down assays revealed that the binding affinities of Vibrio FlhA for FliJ and the FlgN-FlgK chaperone-substrate complex were much lower than those of Salmonella FlhA. These suggest that Vibrio FlhA requires the support of FliH and FliI to efficiently and properly interact with FliJ and the FlgN-FlgK complex. We propose that FliH and FliI ensure robust and efficient energy coupling of protein export during flagellar assembly.
Project description:A soluble protein, FliJ, along with a membrane protein, FlhA, plays a role in the energy coupling mechanism for bacterial flagellar protein export. The water-soluble FliH(X)-FliI(6) ATPase ring complex allows FliJ to efficiently interact with FlhA. However, the FlhA binding site of FliJ remains unknown. Here, we carried out genetic analysis of a region formed by well-conserved residues-Gln38, Leu42, Tyr45, Tyr49, Phe72, Leu76, Ala79, and His83-of FliJ. A structural model of the FliI(6)-FliJ ring complex suggests that they extend out of the FliI(6) ring. Glutathione S-transferase (GST)-FliJ inhibited the motility of and flagellar protein export by both wild-type cells and a fliH-fliI flhB(P28T) bypass mutant. Pulldown assays revealed that the reduced export activity of the export apparatus results from the binding of GST-FliJ to FlhA. The F72A and L76A mutations of FliJ significantly reduced the binding affinity of FliJ for FlhA, thereby suppressing the inhibitory effect of GST-FliJ on the protein export. The F72A and L76A mutations were tolerated in the presence of FliH and FliI but considerably reduced motility in their absence. These two mutations affected neither the interaction with FliI nor the FliI ATPase activity. These results suggest that FliJ(F72A) and FliJ(L76A) require the support of FliH and FliI to exert their export function. Therefore, we propose that the well-conserved surface of FliJ is involved in the interaction with FlhA.
Project description:The flagellar type III protein export apparatus plays an essential role in the formation of the bacterial flagellum. FliH forms a complex along with FliI ATPase and is postulated to provide a link between FliI ring formation and flagellar protein export. Two tryptophan residues of FliH, Trp7 and Trp10, are required for the effective docking of the FliH-FliI complex to the export gate made of six membrane proteins. However, it remains unknown which export gate component interacts with these two tryptophan residues. Here, we performed targeted photo-cross-linking of the extreme N-terminal region of FliH (FliH(EN)) with its binding partners. We replaced Trp7 and Trp10 of FliH with p-benzoyl-phenylalanine (pBPA), a photo-cross-linkable unnatural amino acid, to produce FliH(W7pBPA) and FliH(W10pBPA). They were both functional and were photo-cross-linked with one of the export gate proteins, FlhA, but not with the other gate proteins, indicating that these two tryptophan residues are in close proximity to FlhA. Mutant FlhA proteins that are functional in the presence of FliH and FliI but not in their absence showed a significantly reduced function also by N-terminal FliH mutations even in the presence of FliI. We suggest that the interaction of FliH(EN) with FlhA is required for anchoring the FliI hexamer ring to the export gate for efficient flagellar protein export.
Project description:The bacterial flagellum is one of the best-studied surface-attached appendages in bacteria. Flagellarassembly in vivo is promoted by its own protein export apparatus, a type III secretion system (T3SS) in pathogenic bacteria. Lysobacter enzymogenes OH11 is a non-flagellated soil bacterium that utilizes type IV pilus (T4P)-driven twitching motility to prey upon nearby fungi for food. Interestingly, the strain OH11 encodes components homologous to the flagellar type III protein apparatus (FT3SS) on its genome, but it remains unknown whether this FT3SS-like system is functional. Here, we report that, despite the absence of flagella, the FT3SS homologous genes are responsible not only for the export of the heterologous flagellin in strain OH11 but also for twitching motility. Blocking the FT3SS-like system by in-frame deletion mutations in either flhB or fliI abolished the secretion of heterologous flagellin moleculesinto the culture medium, indicating that the FT3SS is functional in strain OH11. A deletion of flhA, flhB, fliI, or fliR inhibited T4P-driven twitching motility, whereas neither that of fliP nor fliQ did, suggesting that FlhA, FlhB, FliI, and FliR may obtain a novel function to modulate the twitching motility. The flagellar FliI ATPase was required for the secretion of the major pilus subunit, PilA, suggesting that FliI would have evolved to act as a PilB-like pilus ATPase. These observations lead to a plausible hypothesis that the non-flagellated L. enzymogenes OH11 could preserve FT3SS-like genes for acquiring a distinct function to regulate twitching motility associated with its predatory behavior.
Project description:Salicylidene acylhydrazides identified as inhibitors of virulence-mediating type III secretion systems (T3SSs) potentially target their inner membrane export apparatus. They also lead to inhibition of flagellar T3SS-mediated swimming motility in Salmonella enterica serovar. Typhimurium. We show that INP0404 and INP0405 act by reducing the number of flagella/cell. These molecules still inhibit motility of a Salmonella ?fliH-fliI-fliJ/flhB((P28T)) strain, which lacks three soluble components of the flagellar T3S apparatus, suggesting that they are not the target of this drug family. We implemented a genetic screen to search for the inhibitors' molecular target(s) using motility assays in the ?fliH-fliI/flhB((P28T)) background. Both mutants identified were more motile than the background strain in the absence of the drugs, although HM18 was considerably more so. HM18 was more motile than its parent strain in the presence of both drugs while DI15 was only insensitive to INP0405. HM18 was hypermotile due to hyperflagellation, whereas DI15 was not hyperflagellated. HM18 was also resistant to a growth defect induced by high concentrations of the drugs. Whole-genome resequencing of HM18 indicated two alterations within protein coding regions, including one within atpB, which encodes the inner membrane a-subunit of the F(O)F(1)-ATP synthase. Reverse genetics indicated that the alteration in atpB was responsible for all of HM18's phenotypes. Genome sequencing of DI15 uncovered a single A562P mutation within a gene encoding the flagellar inner membrane protein FlhA, the direct role of which in mediating drug insensitivity could not be confirmed. We discuss the implications of these findings in terms of T3SS export apparatus function and drug target identification.
Project description:For construction of the bacterial flagellum, FliI ATPase forms the FliH2-FliI complex in the cytoplasm and localizes to the flagellar basal body (FBB) through the interaction of FliH with a C ring protein, FliN. FliI also assembles into a homo-hexamer to promote initial entry of export substrates into the export gate. The interaction of FliH with an export gate protein, FlhA, is required for stable anchoring of the FliI6 ring to the gate. Here we report the stoichiometry and assembly dynamics of FliI-YFP by fluorescence microscopy with single molecule precision. More than six FliI-YFP molecules were associated with the FBB through interactions of FliH with FliN and FlhA. Single FliI-YFP molecule exchanges between the FBB-localized and free-diffusing ones were observed several times per minute. Neither the number of FliI-YFP associated with the FBB nor FliI-YFP turnover rate were affected by catalytic mutations in FliI, indicating that ATP hydrolysis by FliI does not drive the assembly-disassembly cycle of FliI during flagellar assembly. We propose that the FliH2FliI complex and FliI6 ring function as a dynamic substrate carrier and a static substrate loader, respectively.
Project description:The type III export apparatus of the Salmonella flagellum consists of six transmembrane proteins (FlhA, FlhB, FliO, FliP, FliQ, and FliR) and three soluble proteins (FliH, FliI, and FliJ). Deletion of the fliO gene creates a mutant strain that is poorly motile; however, suppressor mutations in the fliP gene can partially rescue motility. To further understand the mechanism of suppression of a fliO deletion mutation, we isolated new suppressor mutant strains with partially rescued motility. Whole-genome sequence analysis of these strains found a missense mutation that localized to the clpP gene [clpP(V20F)], which encodes the ClpP subunit of the ClpXP protease, and a synonymous mutation that localized to the fliA gene [fliA(+36T?C)], which encodes the flagellar sigma factor, ?(28). Combining these suppressor mutations with mutations in the fliP gene additively rescued motility and biosynthesis of the flagella in fliO deletion mutant strains. Motility was also rescued by an flgM deletion mutation or by plasmids carrying either the flhDC or fliA gene. The fliA(+36T?C) mutation increased mRNA translation of a fliA'-lacZ gene fusion, and immunoblot analysis revealed that the mutation increased levels of ?(28). Quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase PCR showed that either the clpP(V20F) or fliA(+36T?C) mutation rescued expression of class 3 flagellar and chemotaxis genes; still, the suppressor mutations in the fliP gene had a greater effect on bypassing the loss of fliO function. This suggests that the function of FliO is closely associated with regulation of FliP during assembly of the flagellum.
Project description:Many flagellar proteins are exported by a flagellum-specific export pathway. In an initial attempt to characterize the apparatus responsible for the process, we designed a simple assay to screen for mutants with export defects. Temperature-sensitive flagellar mutants of Salmonella typhimurium were grown at the permissive temperature (30 degrees C), shifted to the restrictive temperature (42 degrees C), and inspected in a light microscope. With the exception of switch mutants, they were fully motile. Next, cells grown at the permissive temperature had their flagellar filaments removed by shearing before the cells were shifted to the restrictive temperature. Most mutants were able to regrow filaments. However, flhA, fliH, fliI, and fliN mutants showed no or greatly reduced regrowth, suggesting that the corresponding gene products are involved in the process of flagellum-specific export. We describe here the sequences of fliH, fliI, and the adjacent gene, fliJ; they encode proteins with deduced molecular masses of 25,782, 49,208, and 17,302 Da, respectively. The deduced sequence of FliI shows significant similarity to the catalytic beta subunit of the bacterial F0F1 ATPase and to the catalytic subunits of vacuolar and archaebacterial ATPases; except for limited similarity in the motifs that constitute the nucleotide-binding or catalytic site, it appears unrelated to the E1E2 class of ATPases, to other proteins that mediate protein export, or to a variety of other ATP-utilizing enzymes. We hypothesize that FliI is either the catalytic subunit of a protein translocase for flagellum-specific export or a proton translocase involved in local circuits at the flagellum.
Project description:For self-assembly of the bacterial flagellum, a specific protein export apparatus utilizes ATP and proton motive force (PMF) as the energy source to transport component proteins to the distal growing end. The export apparatus consists of a transmembrane PMF-driven export gate and a cytoplasmic ATPase complex composed of FliH, FliI and FliJ. The FliI(6)FliJ complex is structurally similar to the ?(3)?(3)? complex of F(O)F(1)-ATPase. FliJ allows the gate to efficiently utilize PMF to drive flagellar protein export but it remains unknown how. Here, we report the role of ATP hydrolysis by the FliI(6)FliJ complex. The export apparatus processively transported flagellar proteins to grow flagella even with extremely infrequent or no ATP hydrolysis by FliI mutation (E211D and E211Q, respectively). This indicates that the rate of ATP hydrolysis is not at all coupled with the export rate. Deletion of FliI residues 401 to 410 resulted in no flagellar formation although this FliI deletion mutant retained 40% of the ATPase activity, suggesting uncoupling between ATP hydrolysis and activation of the gate. We propose that infrequent ATP hydrolysis by the FliI6FliJ ring is sufficient for gate activation, allowing processive translocation of export substrates for efficient flagellar assembly.