The Bacterial Flagellar Type III Export Gate Complex Is a Dual Fuel Engine That Can Use Both H+ and Na+ for Flagellar Protein Export.
ABSTRACT: The bacterial flagellar type III export apparatus utilizes ATP and proton motive force (PMF) to transport flagellar proteins to the distal end of the growing flagellar structure for self-assembly. The transmembrane export gate complex is a H+-protein antiporter, of which activity is greatly augmented by an associated cytoplasmic ATPase complex. Here, we report that the export gate complex can use sodium motive force (SMF) in addition to PMF across the cytoplasmic membrane to drive protein export. Protein export was considerably reduced in the absence of the ATPase complex and a pH gradient across the membrane, but Na+ increased it dramatically. Phenamil, a blocker of Na+ translocation, inhibited protein export. Overexpression of FlhA increased the intracellular Na+ concentration in the presence of 100 mM NaCl but not in its absence, suggesting that FlhA acts as a Na+ channel. In wild-type cells, however, neither Na+ nor phenamil affected protein export, indicating that the Na+ channel activity of FlhA is suppressed by the ATPase complex. We propose that the export gate by itself is a dual fuel engine that uses both PMF and SMF for protein export and that the ATPase complex switches this dual fuel engine into a PMF-driven export machinery to become much more robust against environmental changes in external pH and Na+ concentration.
Project description:The proton motive force (PMF) consists of the electric potential difference (Δψ), which is measured as membrane voltage, and the proton concentration difference (ΔpH) across the cytoplasmic membrane. The flagellar protein export machinery is composed of a PMF-driven transmembrane export gate complex and a cytoplasmic ATPase ring complex consisting of FliH, FliI, and FliJ. ATP hydrolysis by the FliI ATPase activates the export gate complex to become an active protein transporter utilizing Δψ to drive proton-coupled protein export. An interaction between FliJ and a transmembrane ion channel protein, FlhA, is a critical step for Δψ-driven protein export. To clarify how Δψ is utilized for flagellar protein export, we analyzed the export properties of the export gate complex in the absence of FliH and FliI. The protein transport activity of the export gate complex was very low at external pH 7.0 but increased significantly with an increase in Δψ by an upward shift of external pH from 7.0 to 8.5. This observation suggests that the export gate complex is equipped with a voltage-gated mechanism. An increase in the cytoplasmic level of FliJ and a gain-of-function mutation in FlhA significantly reduced the Δψ dependency of flagellar protein export by the export gate complex. However, deletion of FliJ decreased Δψ-dependent protein export significantly. We propose that Δψ is required for efficient interaction between FliJ and FlhA to open the FlhA ion channel to conduct protons to drive flagellar protein export in a Δψ-dependent manner.
Project description:The bacterial flagellar protein export machinery consists of a transmembrane export gate complex and a cytoplasmic ATPase complex. The gate complex has two intrinsic and distinct H<sup>+</sup>-driven and Na<sup>+</sup>-driven engines to drive the export of flagellar structural proteins. Salmonella wild-type cells preferentially use the H<sup>+</sup>-driven engine under a variety of environmental conditions. To address how the Na<sup>+</sup>-driven engine is activated, we analyzed the fliJ(Δ13-24) fliH(Δ96-97) mutant and found that the interaction of the FlgN chaperone with FlhA activates the Na<sup>+</sup>-driven engine when the ATPase complex becomes non-functional. A similar activation can be observed with either of two single-residue substitutions in FlhA. Thus, it is likely that the FlgN-FlhA interaction generates a conformational change in FlhA that allows it to function as a Na<sup>+</sup> channel. We propose that this type of activation would be useful for flagellar construction under conditions in which the proton motive force is severely restricted.
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 ΔflhA mutant but not that of a ΔfliH-fliI flhB(P28T) ΔflhA mutant. The flgM mutations significantly increased flagellar gene expression levels, allowing Vibrio FlhA to exert its export activity in the ΔfliH-fliI flhB(P28T) ΔflhA 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: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.
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 flagellum is a complex bacterial nanomachine that requires the proper assembly of several different proteins for its function. Dedicated chaperones are central in preventing aggregation or undesired interactions of flagellar proteins, including their targeting to the export gate. FliT is a key flagellar chaperone that binds to several flagellar proteins in the cytoplasm, including its cognate filament-capping protein FliD. We have determined the solution structure of the FliT chaperone in the free state and in complex with FliD and the flagellar ATPase FliI. FliT adopts a four-helix bundle and uses a hydrophobic surface formed by the first three helices to recognize its substrate proteins. We show that the fourth helix constitutes the binding site for FlhA, a membrane protein at the export gate. In the absence of a substrate protein FliT adopts an autoinhibited structure wherein both the binding sites for substrates and FlhA are occluded. Substrate binding to FliT activates the complex for FlhA binding and thus targeting of the chaperone-substrate complex to the export gate. The activation and targeting mechanisms reported for FliT appear to be shared among the other flagellar chaperones.
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:Flagellar proteins of bacteria are exported by a specific export apparatus. FliI ATPase forms a complex with FliH and FliJ and escorts export substrates from the cytoplasm to the export gate complex, which is made up of six membrane proteins. The export gate complex utilizes proton motive force across the cytoplasmic membrane for protein translocation, but the mechanism remains unknown. Here we show that the export gate complex by itself is a proton-protein antiporter that uses the two components of proton motive force, ?? and ?pH, for different steps of the protein export process. However, in the presence of FliH, FliI and FliJ, a specific binding of FliJ with an export gate membrane protein, FlhA, is brought about by the FliH-FliI complex, which turns the export gate into a highly efficient, ??-driven protein export apparatus.
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: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.