Structural Characterization of a Newly Identified Component of ?-Carboxysomes: The AAA+ Domain Protein CsoCbbQ.
ABSTRACT: Carboxysomes are bacterial microcompartments that enhance carbon fixation by concentrating ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO) and its substrate CO2 within a proteinaceous shell. They are found in all cyanobacteria, some purple photoautotrophs and many chemoautotrophic bacteria. Carboxysomes consist of a protein shell that encapsulates several hundred molecules of RuBisCO, and contain carbonic anhydrase and other accessory proteins. Genes coding for carboxysome shell components and the encapsulated proteins are typically found together in an operon. The ?-carboxysome operon is embedded in a cluster of additional, conserved genes that are presumably related to its function. In many chemoautotrophs, products of the expanded carboxysome locus include CbbO and CbbQ, a member of the AAA+ domain superfamily. We bioinformatically identified subtypes of CbbQ proteins and show that their genes frequently co-occur with both Form IA and Form II RuBisCO. The ?-carboxysome-associated ortholog, CsoCbbQ, from Halothiobacillus neapolitanus forms a hexamer in solution and hydrolyzes ATP. The crystal structure shows that CsoCbbQ is a hexamer of the typical AAA+ domain; the additional C-terminal domain, diagnostic of the CbbQ subfamily, structurally fills the inter-monomer gaps, resulting in a distinctly hexagonal shape. We show that CsoCbbQ interacts with CsoCbbO and is a component of the carboxysome shell, the first example of ATPase activity associated with a bacterial microcompartment.
Project description:The carboxysome is a versatile paradigm of prokaryotic organelles and is a proteinaceous self-assembling microcompartment that plays essential roles in carbon fixation in all cyanobacteria and some chemoautotrophs. The carboxysome encapsulates the central CO<sub>2</sub>-fixing enzyme, ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco), using a polyhedral protein shell that is selectively permeable to specific metabolites in favor of Rubisco carboxylation. There is tremendous interest in repurposing carboxysomes to boost carbon fixation in heterologous organisms. Here, we develop the design and engineering of α-carboxysomes by coexpressing the Rubisco activase components CbbQ and CbbO with α-carboxysomes in <i>Escherichia coli</i>. Our results show that CbbQ and CbbO could assemble into the reconstituted α-carboxysome as intrinsic components. Incorporation of both CbbQ and CbbO within the carboxysome promotes activation of Rubisco and enhances the CO<sub>2</sub>-fixation activities of recombinant carboxysomes. We also show that the structural composition of these carboxysomes could be modified in different expression systems, representing the plasticity of the carboxysome architecture. In translational terms, our study informs strategies for engineering and modulating carboxysomes in diverse biotechnological applications.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The carboxysome is a bacterial microcompartment that consists of a polyhedral protein shell filled with ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO), the enzyme that catalyzes the first step of CO2 fixation via the Calvin-Benson-Bassham cycle. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To analyze the role of RubisCO in carboxysome biogenesis in vivo we have created a series of Halothiobacillus neapolitanus RubisCO mutants. We identified the large subunit of the enzyme as an important determinant for its sequestration into alpha-carboxysomes and found that the carboxysomes of H. neapolitanus readily incorporate chimeric and heterologous RubisCO species. Intriguingly, a mutant lacking carboxysomal RubisCO assembles empty carboxysome shells of apparently normal shape and composition. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These results indicate that carboxysome shell architecture is not determined by the enzyme they normally sequester. Our study provides, for the first time, clear evidence that carboxysome contents can be manipulated and suggests future nanotechnological applications that are based upon engineered protein microcompartments.
Project description:Carboxysomes are a family of bacterial microcompartments in cyanobacteria and chemoautotrophs. They encapsulate Ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) and carbonic anhydrase catalyzing carbon fixation inside a proteinaceous shell. How Rubisco complexes pack within the carboxysomes is unknown. Using cryo-electron tomography, we determine the distinct 3D organization of Rubisco inside two distant α-carboxysomes from a marine α-cyanobacterium Cyanobium sp. PCC 7001 where Rubiscos are organized in three concentric layers, and from a chemoautotrophic bacterium Halothiobacillus neapolitanus where they form intertwining spirals. We further resolve the structures of native Rubisco as well as its higher-order assembly at near-atomic resolutions by subtomogram averaging. The structures surprisingly reveal that the authentic intrinsically disordered linker protein CsoS2 interacts with Rubiscos in native carboxysomes but functions distinctively in the two α-carboxysomes. In contrast to the uniform Rubisco-CsoS2 association in the Cyanobium α-carboxysome, CsoS2 binds only to the Rubiscos close to the shell in the Halo α-carboxysome. Our findings provide critical knowledge of the assembly principles of α-carboxysomes, which may aid in the rational design and repurposing of carboxysome structures for new functions.
Project description:The vast majority of biological carbon dioxide fixation relies on the function of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco). In most cases the enzyme exhibits a tendency to become inhibited by its substrate RuBP and other sugar phosphates. The inhibition is counteracted by diverse molecular chaperones known as Rubisco activases (Rcas). In some chemoautotrophic bacteria, the CbbQO-type Rca Q2O2 repairs inhibited active sites of hexameric form II Rubisco. The 2.2-Å crystal structure of the MoxR AAA+ protein CbbQ2 from Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans reveals the helix 2 insert (H2I) that is critical for Rca function and forms the axial pore of the CbbQ hexamer. Negative-stain electron microscopy shows that the essential CbbO adaptor protein binds to the conserved, concave side of the CbbQ2 hexamer. Site-directed mutagenesis supports a model in which adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP)-powered movements of the H2I are transmitted to CbbO via the concave residue L85. The basal ATPase activity of Q2O2 Rca is repressed but strongly stimulated by inhibited Rubisco. The characterization of multiple variants where this repression is released indicates that binding of inhibited Rubisco to the C-terminal CbbO VWA domain initiates a signal toward the CbbQ active site that is propagated via elements that include the CbbQ ?4-?4 loop, pore loop 1, and the presensor 1-? hairpin (PS1-?H). Detailed mechanistic insights into the enzyme repair chaperones of the highly diverse CO2 fixation machinery of Proteobacteria will facilitate their successful implementation in synthetic biology ventures.
Project description:Carboxysomes are proteinaceous organelles that play essential roles in enhancing carbon fixation in cyanobacteria and some proteobacteria. These self-assembling organelles encapsulate Ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) and carbonic anhydrase using a protein shell structurally resembling an icosahedral viral capsid. The protein shell serves as a physical barrier to protect enzymes from the cytosol and a selectively permeable membrane to mediate transport of enzyme substrates and products. The structural and mechanical nature of native carboxysomes remain unclear. Here, we isolate functional ?-carboxysomes from the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC7942 and perform the first characterization of the macromolecular architecture and inherent physical mechanics of single ?-carboxysomes using electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and proteomics. Our results illustrate that the intact ?-carboxysome comprises three structural domains, a single-layered icosahedral shell, an inner layer and paracrystalline arrays of interior Rubisco. We also observe the protein organization of the shell and partial ?-carboxysomes that likely serve as the ?-carboxysome assembly intermediates. Furthermore, the topography and intrinsic mechanics of functional ?-carboxysomes are determined in native conditions using AFM and AFM-based nanoindentation, revealing the flexible organization and soft mechanical properties of ?-carboxysomes compared to rigid viruses. Our study provides new insights into the natural characteristics of ?-carboxysome organization and nanomechanics, which can be extended to diverse bacterial microcompartments and are important considerations for the design and engineering of functional carboxysomes in other organisms to supercharge photosynthesis. It offers an approach for inspecting the structural and mechanical features of synthetic metabolic organelles and protein scaffolds in bioengineering.
Project description:Cyanobacteria are the globally dominant photoautotrophic lineage. Their success is dependent on a set of adaptations collectively termed the CO2-concentrating mechanism (CCM). The purpose of the CCM is to support effective CO2 fixation by enhancing the chemical conditions in the vicinity of the primary CO2-fixing enzyme, D-ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO), to promote the carboxylase reaction and suppress the oxygenase reaction. In cyanobacteria and some proteobacteria, this is achieved by encapsulation of RubisCO within carboxysomes, which are examples of a group of proteinaceous bodies called bacterial microcompartments. Carboxysomes encapsulate the CO2-fixing enzyme within the selectively permeable protein shell and simultaneously encapsulate a carbonic anhydrase enzyme for CO2 supply from a cytoplasmic bicarbonate pool. These bodies appear to have arisen twice and undergone a process of convergent evolution. While the gross structures of all known carboxysomes are ostensibly very similar, with shared gross features such as a selectively permeable shell layer, each type of carboxysome encapsulates a phyletically distinct form of RubisCO enzyme. Furthermore, the specific proteins forming structures such as the protein shell or the inner RubisCO matrix are not identical between carboxysome types. Each type has evolutionarily distinct forms of the same proteins, as well as proteins that are entirely unrelated to one another. In light of recent developments in the study of carboxysome structure and function, we present this review to summarize the knowledge of the structure and function of both types of carboxysome. We also endeavor to cast light on differing evolutionary trajectories which may have led to the differences observed in extant carboxysomes.
Project description:Carboxysomes are organelle-like polyhedral bodies found in cyanobacteria and many chemoautotrophic bacteria that are thought to facilitate carbon fixation. Carboxysomes are bounded by a proteinaceous outer shell and filled with ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO), the first enzyme in the CO(2) fixation pathway, but exactly how they enhance carbon fixation is unclear. Here we report the three-dimensional structure of purified carboxysomes from Synechococcus species strain WH8102 as revealed by electron cryotomography. We found that while the sizes of individual carboxysomes in this organism varied from 114 nm to 137 nm, surprisingly, all were approximately icosahedral. There were on average approximately 250 RuBisCOs per carboxysome, organized into three to four concentric layers. Some models of carboxysome function depend on specific contacts between individual RuBisCOs and the shell, but no evidence of such contacts was found: no systematic patterns of connecting densities or RuBisCO positions against the shell's presumed hexagonal lattice could be discerned, and simulations showed that packing forces alone could account for the layered organization of RuBisCOs.
Project description:Carboxysomes are polyhedral inclusion bodies that play a key role in autotrophic metabolism in many bacteria. Using electron cryotomography, we examined carboxysomes in their native states within intact cells of three chemolithoautotrophic bacteria. We found that carboxysomes generally cluster into distinct groups within the cytoplasm, often in the immediate vicinity of polyphosphate granules, and a regular lattice of density frequently connects granules to nearby carboxysomes. Small granular bodies were also seen within carboxysomes. These observations suggest a functional relationship between carboxysomes and polyphosphate granules. Carboxysomes exhibited greater size, shape, and compositional variability in cells than in purified preparations. Finally, we observed carboxysomes in various stages of assembly, as well as filamentous structures that we attribute to misassembled shell protein. Surprisingly, no more than one partial carboxysome was ever observed per cell. Based on these observations, we propose a model for carboxysome assembly in which the shell and the internal RuBisCO (ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase) lattice form simultaneously, likely guided by specific interactions between shell proteins and RuBisCOs.
Project description:Cyanobacterial CO(2)-fixation is supported by a CO(2)-concentrating mechanism which improves photosynthesis by saturating the primary carboxylating enzyme, ribulose 1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO), with its preferred substrate CO(2). The site of CO(2)-concentration is a protein bound micro-compartment called the carboxysome which contains most, if not all, of the cellular RuBisCO. The shell of ?-type carboxysomes is thought to be composed of two functional layers, with the inner layer involved in RuBisCO scaffolding and bicarbonate dehydration, and the outer layer in selective permeability to dissolved solutes. Here, four genes (ccmK2-4, ccmO), whose products were predicted to function in the outer shell layer of ?-carboxysomes from Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942, were investigated by analysis of defined genetic mutants. Deletion of the ccmK2 and ccmO genes resulted in severe high-CO(2)-requiring mutants with aberrant carboxysomes, whilst deletion of ccmK3 or ccmK4 resulted in cells with wild-type physiology and normal ultrastructure. However, a tandem deletion of ccmK3-4 resulted in cells with wild-type carboxysome structure, but physiologically deficient at low CO(2) conditions. These results revealed the minimum structural determinants of the outer shell of ?-carboxysomes from this strain: CcmK2, CcmO and CcmL. An accessory set of proteins was required to refine the function of the pre-existing shell: CcmK3 and CcmK4. These data suggested a model for the facet structure of ?-carboxysomes with CcmL forming the vertices, CcmK2 forming the bulk facet, and CcmO, a "zipper protein," interfacing the edges of carboxysome facets.
Project description:Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (rubisco) is responsible for almost all biological CO2 assimilation, but forms inhibited complexes with its substrate ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate (RuBP) and other sugar phosphates. The distantly related AAA+ proteins rubisco activase and CbbX remodel inhibited rubisco complexes to effect inhibitor release in plants and ?-proteobacteria, respectively. Here we characterize a third class of rubisco activase in the chemolithoautotroph Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. Two sets of isoforms of CbbQ and CbbO form hetero-oligomers that function as specific activases for two structurally diverse rubisco forms. Mutational analysis supports a model wherein the AAA+ protein CbbQ functions as motor and CbbO is a substrate adaptor that binds rubisco via a von Willebrand factor A domain. Understanding the mechanisms employed by nature to overcome rubisco's shortcomings will increase our toolbox for engineering photosynthetic carbon dioxide fixation.