Structures of the ATP-fueled ClpXP proteolytic machine bound to protein substrate.
ABSTRACT: ClpXP is an ATP-dependent protease in which the ClpX AAA+ motor binds, unfolds, and translocates specific protein substrates into the degradation chamber of ClpP. We present cryo-EM studies of the E. coli enzyme that show how asymmetric hexameric rings of ClpX bind symmetric heptameric rings of ClpP and interact with protein substrates. Subunits in the ClpX hexamer assume a spiral conformation and interact with two-residue segments of substrate in the axial channel, as observed for other AAA+ proteases and protein-remodeling machines. Strictly sequential models of ATP hydrolysis and a power stroke that moves two residues of the substrate per translocation step have been inferred from these structural features for other AAA+ unfoldases, but biochemical and single-molecule biophysical studies indicate that ClpXP operates by a probabilistic mechanism in which five to eight residues are translocated for each ATP hydrolyzed. We propose structure-based models that could account for the functional results.
Project description:The ClpXP machinery is a two-component protease complex that performs targeted protein degradation in bacteria and mitochondria. The complex consists of the AAA+ chaperone ClpX and the peptidase ClpP. The hexameric ClpX utilizes the energy of ATP binding and hydrolysis to engage, unfold and translocate substrates into the catalytic chamber of tetradecameric ClpP, where they are degraded. Formation of the complex involves a symmetry mismatch, because hexameric AAA+ rings bind axially to the opposing stacked heptameric rings of the tetradecameric ClpP. Here we present the cryo-EM structure of ClpXP from Listeria monocytogenes. We unravel the heptamer-hexamer binding interface and provide novel insight into the ClpX-ClpP cross-talk and activation mechanism. Comparison with available crystal structures of ClpP and ClpX in different states allows us to understand important aspects of the complex mode of action of ClpXP and provides a structural framework for future pharmacological applications.
Project description:The ClpXP degradation machine consists of a hexameric AAA+ unfoldase (ClpX) and a pair of heptameric serine protease rings (ClpP) that unfold, translocate, and subsequently degrade client proteins. ClpXP is an important target for drug development against infectious diseases. Although structures are available for isolated ClpX and ClpP rings, it remains unknown how symmetry mismatched ClpX and ClpP work in tandem for processive substrate translocation into the ClpP proteolytic chamber. Here, we present cryo-EM structures of the substrate-bound ClpXP complex from Neisseria meningitidis at 2.3 to 3.3 Å resolution. The structures allow development of a model in which the sequential hydrolysis of ATP is coupled to motions of ClpX loops that lead to directional substrate translocation and ClpX rotation relative to ClpP. Our data add to the growing body of evidence that AAA+ molecular machines generate translocating forces by a common mechanism.
Project description:ClpXP is a AAA+ protease that uses the energy of ATP binding and hydrolysis to perform mechanical work during targeted protein degradation within cells. ClpXP consists of hexamers of a AAA+ ATPase (ClpX) and a tetradecameric peptidase (ClpP). Asymmetric ClpX hexamers bind unstructured peptide tags in protein substrates, unfold stable tertiary structure in the substrate, and then translocate the unfolded polypeptide chain into an internal proteolytic compartment in ClpP. Here, we review our present understanding of ClpXP structure and function, as revealed by two decades of biochemical and biophysical studies.
Project description:AAA(+) unfoldases denature and translocate polypeptides into associated peptidases. We report direct observations of mechanical, force-induced protein unfolding by the ClpX unfoldase from E. coli, alone, and in complex with the ClpP peptidase. ClpX hydrolyzes ATP to generate mechanical force and translocate polypeptides through its central pore. Threading is interrupted by pauses that are found to be off the main translocation pathway. ClpX's translocation velocity is force dependent, reaching a maximum of 80 aa/s near-zero force and vanishing at around 20 pN. ClpX takes 1, 2, or 3 nm steps, suggesting a fundamental step-size of 1 nm and a certain degree of intersubunit coordination. When ClpX encounters a folded protein, it either overcomes this mechanical barrier or slips on the polypeptide before making another unfolding attempt. Binding of ClpP decreases the slip probability and enhances the unfolding efficiency of ClpX. Under the action of ClpXP, GFP unravels cooperatively via a transient intermediate.
Project description:All cells employ ATP-powered proteases for protein-quality control and regulation. In the ClpXP protease, ClpX is a AAA+ machine that recognizes specific protein substrates, unfolds these molecules, and then translocates the denatured polypeptide through a central pore and into ClpP for degradation. Here, we use optical-trapping nanometry to probe the mechanics of enzymatic unfolding and translocation of single molecules of a multidomain substrate. Our experiments demonstrate the capacity of ClpXP and ClpX to perform mechanical work under load, reveal very fast and highly cooperative unfolding of individual substrate domains, suggest a translocation step size of 5-8 amino acids, and support a power-stroke model of denaturation in which successful enzyme-mediated unfolding of stable domains requires coincidence between mechanical pulling by the enzyme and a transient stochastic reduction in protein stability. We anticipate that single-molecule studies of the mechanical properties of other AAA+ proteolytic machines will reveal many shared features with ClpXP.
Project description:ClpXP is a two-component protease composed of ClpX, an ATP-dependent chaperone that recognizes and unfolds specific substrates, and ClpP, a serine protease. One ClpXP substrate in Escherichia coli is FtsZ, which is essential for cell division. FtsZ polymerizes and forms the FtsZ ring at midcell, where division occurs. To investigate the role of ClpXP in cell division, we examined the effects of clpX and clpP deletions in several strains that are defective for cell division. Together, our results suggested that ClpXP modulates cell division through degradation of FtsZ and possibly other cell division components that function downstream of FtsZ ring assembly. In the ftsZ84 strain, which is temperature sensitive for filamentation due to a mutation in ftsZ, we observed that deletion of clpX or clpP suppresses filamentation and reduces FtsZ84 degradation. These results are consistent with ClpXP playing a role in cell division by modulating the level of FtsZ through degradation. In another division-defective strain, ?minC, the additional deletion of clpX or clpP delays cell division and exacerbates filamentation. Our results demonstrate that ClpXP modulates division in cells lacking MinC by a mechanism that requires ATP-dependent degradation. However, antibiotic chase experiments in vivo indicate that FtsZ degradation is slower in the ?minC strain than in the wild type, suggesting there may be another cell division component degraded by ClpXP. Taken together these studies suggest that ClpXP may degrade multiple cell division proteins, thereby modulating the precise balance of the components required for division.
Project description:ClpXP is an ATP-fueled molecular machine that unfolds and degrades target proteins. ClpX, an AAA+ enzyme, recognizes specific proteins, and then uses cycles of ATP hydrolysis to denature any native structure and to translocate the unfolded polypeptide into ClpP for degradation. Here, we develop and apply single-molecule fluorescence assays to probe the kinetics of protein denaturation and degradation by ClpXP. These assays employ a single-chain variant of the ClpX hexamer, linked via a single biotin to a streptavidin-coated surface, and fusion substrates with an N-terminal fluorophore and a C-terminal GFP-titin-ssrA module. In the presence of adenosine 5'-[gamma-thio]triphosphate (ATPgammaS), ClpXP degrades the titin-ssrA portion of these substrates but stalls when it encounters GFP. Exchange into ATP then allows synchronous resumption of denaturation and degradation of GFP and any downstream domains. GFP unfolding can be monitored directly, because intrinsic fluorescence is quenched by denaturation. The time required for complete degradation coincides with loss of the substrate fluorophore from the protease complex. Fitting single-molecule data for a set of related substrates provides time constants for ClpX unfolding, translocation, and a terminal step that may involve product release. Comparison of these single-molecule results with kinetics measured in bulk solution indicates similar levels of microscopic and macroscopic ClpXP activity. These results support a stochastic engagement/unfolding mechanism that ultimately results in highly processive degradation and set the stage for more detailed single-molecule studies of machine function.
Project description:In the AAA+ ClpXP protease, ClpX uses the energy of ATP binding and hydrolysis to unfold proteins before translocating them into ClpP for degradation. For proteins with C-terminal ssrA tags, ClpXP pulls on the tag to initiate unfolding and subsequent degradation. Here, we demonstrate that an initial step in ClpXP unfolding of the 11-stranded ? barrel of superfolder GFP-ssrA involves extraction of the C-terminal ? strand. The resulting 10-stranded intermediate is populated at low ATP concentrations, which stall ClpXP unfolding, and at high ATP concentrations, which support robust degradation. To determine if stable unfolding intermediates cause low-ATP stalling, we designed and characterized circularly permuted GFP variants. Notably, stalling was observed for a variant that formed a stable 10-stranded intermediate but not for one in which this intermediate was unstable. A stepwise degradation model in which the rates of terminal-strand extraction, strand refolding or recapture, and unfolding of the 10-stranded intermediate all depend on the rate of ATP hydrolysis by ClpXP accounts for the observed changes in degradation kinetics over a broad range of ATP concentrations. Our results suggest that the presence or absence of unfolding intermediates will play important roles in determining whether forced enzymatic unfolding requires a minimum rate of ATP hydrolysis.
Project description:In the Escherichia coli ClpXP protease, a hexameric ClpX ring couples ATP binding and hydrolysis to mechanical protein unfolding and translocation into the ClpP degradation chamber. Rigid-body packing between the small AAA+ domain of each ClpX subunit and the large AAA+ domain of its neighbor stabilizes the hexamer. By connecting the parts of each rigid-body unit with disulfide bonds or linkers, we created covalently closed rings that retained robust activity. A single-residue insertion in the hinge that connects the large and small AAA+ domains and forms part of the nucleotide-binding site uncoupled ATP hydrolysis from productive unfolding. We propose that ATP hydrolysis drives changes in the conformation of one hinge and its flanking domains and that the changes are propagated around the AAA+ ring through the topologically constrained set of rigid-body units and hinges to produce coupled ring motions that power substrate unfolding.
Project description:The ClpXP protease is a highly conserved AAA+ degradation machine that is present throughout bacteria and in eukaryotic organelles. ClpXP is essential in some bacteria, such as Caulobacter crescentus, but dispensible in others, such as Escherichia coli. In Caulobacter, ClpXP normally degrades the SocB toxin and increased levels of SocB result in cell death. ClpX can be deleted in cells lacking this toxin, but these ?clpX strains are still profoundly deficient in morphology and growth supporting the existence of additional important functions for ClpXP. In this work, we characterize aspects of ClpX crucial for its cellular function. Specifically, we show that although the E. coli ClpX functions with the Caulobacter ClpP in vitro, this variant cannot complement wildtype activity in vivo. Chimeric studies suggest that the N-terminal domain of ClpX plays a crucial, species-specific role in maintaining normal growth. We find that one defect of Caulobacter lacking the proper species of ClpX is the failure to properly proteolytically process the replication clamp loader subunit DnaX. Consistent with this, growth of ?clpX cells is improved upon expression of a shortened form of DnaX in trans. This work reveals that a broadly conserved protease can acquire highly specific functions in different species and further reinforces the critical nature of the N-domain of ClpX in substrate choice.