Inhibition of a type III secretion system by the deletion of a short loop in one of its membrane proteins.
ABSTRACT: The membrane protein FlhB is a highly conserved component of the flagellar secretion system. It is composed of an N-terminal transmembrane domain and a C-terminal cytoplasmic domain (FlhBC). Here, the crystal structures of FlhBC from Salmonella typhimurium and Aquifex aeolicus are described at 2.45 and 2.55 Å resolution, respectively. These flagellar FlhBC structures are similar to those of paralogues from the needle type III secretion system, with the major difference being in a linker that connects the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains of FlhB. It was found that deletion of a short flexible loop in a globular part of Salmonella FlhBC leads to complete inhibition of secretion by the flagellar secretion system. Molecular-dynamics calculations demonstrate that the linker region is the most flexible part of FlhBC and that the deletion of the loop reduces this flexibility. These results are in good agreement with previous studies showing the importance of the linker in the function of FlhB and provide new insight into the relationship between the different parts of the FlhBC molecule.
Project description:The membrane protein FlhB is a highly conserved component of the flagellar secretion system, and it plays an active role in the regulation of protein export. In this study conserved properties of FlhB that are important for its function were investigated. Replacing the flhB gene (or part of the gene) in Salmonella typhimurium with the flhB gene of the distantly related bacterium Aquifex aeolicus greatly reduces motility. However, motility can be restored to some extent by spontaneous mutations in the part of flhB gene coding for the cytoplasmic domain of Aquifex FlhB. Structural analysis suggests that these mutations destabilize the structure. The secondary structure and stability of the mutated cytoplasmic fragments of FlhB have been studied by circular dichroism spectroscopy. The results suggest that conformational flexibility could be important for FlhB function. An extragenic suppressor mutation in the fliS gene, which decreases the affinity of FliS to FliC, partially restores motility of the FlhB substitution mutants.
Project description:The hook length of the flagellum is controlled to about 55?nm in Salmonella. The flagellar type III protein export apparatus secretes FliK to determine hook length during hook assembly and changes its substrate specificity from the hook protein to the filament protein when the hook length has reached about 55?nm. Salmonella FliK consists of an N-terminal domain (FliKN, residues 1-207), a C-terminal domain (FliKC, residues 268-405) and a flexible linker (FliKL, residues 208-267) connecting these two domains. FliKN is a ruler to measure hook length. FliKC binds to a transmembrane export gate protein FlhB to undergo the export switching. FliKL not only acts as part of the ruler but also contributes to this switching event, but it remains unknown how. Here we report that FliKL is required for efficient interaction of FliKC with FlhB. Deletions in FliKL not only shortened hook length according to the size of deletions but also caused a loose length control. Deletion of residues 206-265 significantly reduced the binding affinity of FliKC for FlhB, thereby producing much longer hooks. We propose that an appropriate length of FliKL is required for efficient interaction of FliKC with FlhB.
Project description:The bacterial type III export apparatus is found in the flagellum and in the needle complex of some pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria. In the needle complex its function is to secrete effector proteins for infection into Eukaryotic cells. In the bacterial flagellum it exports specific proteins for the building of the flagellum during its assembly. The export apparatus is composed of about five membrane proteins and three soluble proteins. The mechanism of the export apparatus is not fully understood. The five membrane proteins are well conserved and essential. Here a cross-complementation assay was performed: substituting in the flagellar system of Salmonella one of these membrane proteins, FlhB, by the FlhB ortholog from Aquifex aeolicus (an evolutionary distant hyperthermophilic bacteria) or a chimeric protein (AquSalFlhB) made by the combination of the trans-membrane domain of A. aeolicus FlhB with the cytoplasmic domain of Salmonella FlhB dramatically reduced numbers of flagella and motility. From cells expressing the chimeric AquSalFlhB protein, suppressor mutants with enhanced motility were isolated and the mutations were identified using whole genome sequencing. Gain-of-function mutations were found in the gene encoding FlhA, another membrane protein of the type III export apparatus. Also, mutations were identified in genes encoding 4-hydroxybenzoate octaprenyltransferase, ubiquinone/menaquinone biosynthesis methyltransferase, and 4-hydroxy-3-methylbut-2-en-1-yl diphosphate synthase, which are required for ubiquinone biosynthesis. The mutations were shown by reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography to reduce the quinone pool of the cytoplasmic membrane. Ubiquinone biosynthesis could be restored for the strain bearing a mutated gene for 4-hydroxybenzoate octaprenyltransferase by the addition of excess exogenous 4-hydroxybenzoate. Restoring the level of ubiquinone reduced flagella biogenesis with the AquSalFlhB chimera demonstrating that the respiratory chain quinone pool is responsible for this phenomenon.
Project description:Protein secretion through type-three secretion systems (T3SS) is critical for motility and virulence of many bacteria. Proteins are transported through an export gate containing three proteins (FliPQR in flagella, SctRST in virulence systems). A fourth essential T3SS protein (FlhB/SctU) functions to "switch" secretion substrate specificity once the growing hook/needle reach their determined length. Here, we present the cryo-electron microscopy structure of an export gate containing the switch protein from a Vibrio flagellar system at 3.2?Å resolution. The structure reveals that FlhB/SctU extends the helical export gate with its four predicted transmembrane helices wrapped around FliPQR/SctRST. The unusual topology of the FlhB/SctU helices creates a loop wrapped around the bottom of the closed export gate. Structure-informed mutagenesis suggests that this loop is critical in gating secretion and we propose that a series of conformational changes in the T3SS trigger opening of the gate through interactions between FlhB/SctU and FliPQR/SctRST.
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:Crystal structures of cleaved and uncleaved forms of the YscU cytoplasmic domain, an essential component of the type III secretion system (T3SS) in Yersinia pestis, have been solved by single-wavelength anomolous dispersion and refined with X-ray diffraction data extending up to atomic resolution (1.13 A). These crystallographic studies provide structural insights into the conformational changes induced upon auto-cleavage of the cytoplasmic domain of YscU. The structures indicate that the cleaved fragments remain bound to each other. The conserved NPTH sequence that contains the site of the N263-P264 peptide bond cleavage is found on a beta-turn which, upon cleavage, undergoes a major reorientation of the loop away from the catalytic N263, resulting in altered electrostatic surface features at the site of cleavage. Additionally, a significant conformational change was observed in the N-terminal linker regions of the cleaved and noncleaved forms of YscU which may correspond to the molecular switch that influences substrate specificity. The YscU structures determined here also are in good agreement with the auto-cleavage mechanism described for the flagellar homolog FlhB and E. coli EscU.
Project description:The bacterial flagellar type III export apparatus, which is required for flagellar assembly beyond the cell membranes, consists of a transmembrane export gate complex and a cytoplasmic ATPase complex. FlhA, FlhB, FliP, FliQ, and FliR form the gate complex inside the basal body MS ring, although FliO is required for efficient export gate formation in Salmonella enterica. However, it remains unknown how they form the gate complex. Here we report that FliP forms a homohexameric ring with a diameter of 10 nm. Alanine substitutions of conserved Phe-137, Phe-150, and Glu-178 residues in the periplasmic domain of FliP (FliPP) inhibited FliP6 ring formation, suppressing flagellar protein export. FliO formed a 5-nm ring structure with 3 clamp-like structures that bind to the FliP6 ring. The crystal structure of FliPP derived from Thermotoga maritia, and structure-based photo-crosslinking experiments revealed that Phe-150 and Ser-156 of FliPP are involved in the FliP-FliP interactions and that Phe-150, Arg-152, Ser-156, and Pro-158 are responsible for the FliP-FliO interactions. Overexpression of FliP restored motility of a ?fliO mutant to the wild-type level, suggesting that the FliP6 ring is a functional unit in the export gate complex and that FliO is not part of the final gate structure. Copurification assays revealed that FlhA, FlhB, FliQ, and FliR are associated with the FliO/FliP complex. We propose that the assembly of the export gate complex begins with FliP6 ring formation with the help of the FliO scaffold, followed by FliQ, FliR, and FlhB and finally FlhA during MS ring formation.
Project description:The flhB and flhA genes constitute an operon called flhB operon on the Salmonella typhimurium chromosome. Their gene products are required for formation of the rod structure of flagellar apparatus. Furthermore, several lines of evidence suggest that they, together with FliI and FliH, may constitute the export apparatus of flagellin, the component protein of flagellar filament. In this study, we determined the nucleotide sequence of the entire flhB operon from S. typhimurium. It was shown that the flhB and flhA genes encode highly hydrophobic polypeptides with calculated molecular masses of 42,322 and 74,848 Da, respectively. Both proteins have several potential membrane-spanning segments, suggesting that they may be integral membrane proteins. The flhB operon was found to contain an additional open reading frame capable of encoding a polypeptide with a calculated molecular mass of 14,073 Da. We designated this open reading frame flhE. The N-terminal 16 amino acids of FlhE displays a feature of a typical signal sequence. A maxicell labeling experiment enabled us to identify the precursor and mature forms of the flhE gene products. Insertion of a kanamycin-resistant gene cartridge into the chromosomal flhE gene did not affect the motility of the cells, indicating that the flhE gene is not essential for flagellar formation and function. We have overproduced and purified N-terminally truncated FlhB and FlhA proteins and raised antibodies against them. By use of these antibodies, localization of the FlhB and FlhA proteins was analyzed by Western blotting (immunoblotting) with the fractionated cell extracts. The results obtained indicated that both proteins are localized in the cytoplasmic membrane.
Project description:The flagellar hook is a short tubular structure located between the external filament and the membrane-bound basal body. The average hook length is 55 nm and is determined by the soluble protein FliK and the integral membrane protein FlhB. Hook elongation is terminated by FliK-mediated cessation of hook protein secretion, followed by the secretion of filamentous proteins. This process is referred to as the substrate specificity switch. Switching of the secretion modes results from a direct interaction between the FliK C-terminal domain (FliKC) and the secretion gate in FlhB. FliKC consists of two ?-helices and four ?-strands. Loop 2 connects the first two ?-sheets and contains a conserved sequence of 9 residues. Genetic and physiological analyses of various fliK partial deletion mutants pointed to loop 2 as essential for induction of a conformational change in the FlhB gate. We constructed single-amino-acid substitutions in the conserved region of loop 2 of FliK and discovered that the loop sequence LRL is essential for the timely switching of secretion modes.Flagellar protein secretion is controlled by the soluble protein FliK. We discovered that the loop 2 sequence LRL in the FliK C terminus was essential for timely switching of secretion modes. This mechanism is applicable to type three secretions systems that secrete virulence factors in bacterial pathogens.
Project description:The bacterial flagellum is assembled by a multicomponent transport apparatus categorized as a type III secretion system. The secretion of proteins that assemble into the flagellum is driven by the proton motive force. The periplasmic protein FlhE is a member of the flhBAE operon in the majority of bacteria where FlhE is found. FlhA and FlhB are established components of the flagellar type III secretion system. The absence of FlhE results in a proton leak through the flagellar system, inappropriate secretion patterns, and cell death, indicating that FlhE regulates an important aspect of proper flagellar biosynthesis. We isolated FlhE from the periplasm of Salmonella and solved its structure to 1.5Å resolution. The structure reveals a ?-sandwich fold, with no close structural homologs. Possible roles of FlhE, including that of a chaperone, are discussed.