High-Resolution pH Imaging of Living Bacterial Cells To Detect Local pH Differences.
ABSTRACT: Protons are utilized for various biological activities such as energy transduction and cell signaling. For construction of the bacterial flagellum, a type III export apparatus utilizes ATP and proton motive force to drive flagellar protein export, but the energy transduction mechanism remains unclear. Here, we have developed a high-resolution pH imaging system to measure local pH differences within living Salmonella enterica cells, especially in close proximity to the cytoplasmic membrane and the export apparatus. The local pH near the membrane was ca. 0.2 pH unit higher than the bulk cytoplasmic pH. However, the local pH near the export apparatus was ca. 0.1 pH unit lower than that near the membrane. This drop of local pH depended on the activities of both transmembrane export components and FliI ATPase. We propose that the export apparatus acts as an H+/protein antiporter to couple ATP hydrolysis with H+ flow to drive protein export.The flagellar type III export apparatus is required for construction of the bacterial flagellum beyond the cellular membranes. The export apparatus consists of a transmembrane export gate and a cytoplasmic ATPase complex. The export apparatus utilizes ATP and proton motive force as the energy source for efficient and rapid protein export during flagellar assembly, but it remains unknown how. In this study, we have developed an in vivo pH imaging system with high spatial and pH resolutions with a pH indicator probe to measure local pH near the export apparatus. We provide direct evidence suggesting that ATP hydrolysis by the ATPase complex and the following rapid protein translocation by the export gate are both linked to efficient proton translocation through the gate.
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 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: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:Type-III protein secretion systems are utilized by gram-negative pathogens to secrete building blocks of the bacterial flagellum, virulence effectors from the cytoplasm into host cells, and structural subunits of the needle complex. The flagellar type-III secretion apparatus utilizes both the energy of the proton motive force and ATP hydrolysis to energize substrate unfolding and translocation. We report formation of functional flagella in the absence of type-III ATPase activity by mutations that increased the proton motive force and flagellar substrate levels. We additionally show that increased proton motive force bypassed the requirement of the Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 virulence-associated type-III ATPase for secretion. Our data support a role for type-III ATPases in enhancing secretion efficiency under limited secretion substrate concentrations and reveal the dispensability of ATPase activity in the type-III protein export process.
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: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 role of rotational molecular motors of the ATP synthase class is integral to the metabolism of cells. Yet the function of FliI6-FliJ complex, a homolog of the F1 ATPase motor, within the flagellar export apparatus remains unclear. We use a simple two-state model adapted from studies of linear molecular motors to identify key features of this motor. The two states are the 'locked' ground state where the FliJ coiled coil filament experiences angular fluctuations in an asymmetric torsional potential, and a 'free' excited state in which FliJ undergoes rotational diffusion. Michaelis-Menten kinetics was used to treat transitions between these two states, and obtain the average angular velocity of the unloaded FliJ filament within the FliI6 stator: ?max???9.0 rps. The motor was then studied under external counter torque conditions in order to ascertain its maximal power output: Pmax???42 kBT/s (or 102 kW/mol), and the stall torque: Gstall???3 kBT/rad (or 0.01 nN·nm/rad). Two modes of action within the flagellar export apparatus are proposed, in which the motor performs useful work either by continuously 'grinding' through the resistive environment of the export gate, or by exerting equal and opposite stall force on it. In both cases, the resistance is provided by flagellin subunits entering the flagellar export channel prior to their unfolding. We therefore propose that the function of the FliI6-FliJ complex is to lower the energy barrier, and therefore assist in unfolding of the flagellar proteins before feeding them into the transport channel.
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: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 bacterial flagellar proteins are translocated into the central channel of the flagellum by a specific protein-export apparatus for self-assembly at the distal growing end. FliH and FliI are soluble components of the export apparatus and form an FliH2-FliI heterotrimer in the cytoplasm. FliI is an ATPase and the FliH2-FliI complex delivers export substrates from the cytoplasm to an export gate made up of six integral membrane proteins of the export apparatus. In this study, an FliHC fragment consisting of residues 99-235 was co-purified with FliI and the FliHC2-FliI complex was crystallized. Crystals were obtained using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion technique with PEG 400 as a precipitant. The crystals belonged to the orthorhombic space group P2(1)2(1)2(1), with unit-cell parameters a=133.7, b=147.3, c=164.2?Å, and diffracted to 3.0?Å resolution.