A potential late stage intermediate of twin-arginine dependent protein translocation in Escherichia coli

authored by
Hendrik Geise, Eyleen Sabine Heidrich, Christoph Stefan Nikolin, Denise Mehner-Breitfeld, Thomas Brüser

The twin-arginine translocation (Tat) system transports folded proteins across membranes of prokaryotes, plant plastids, and some mitochondria. According to blue-native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis after solubilization with digitonin, distinct interactions between the components TatA, TatB, and TatC result in two major TatBC-containing complexes in Escherichia coli that can bind protein substrates. We now report the first detection of a TatABC complex that likely represents the state at which transport occurs. This complex was initially found when the photo cross-linking amino acid p-benzoyl-L-phenylalanine (Bpa) was introduced at position I50 on the periplasmic side of the first trans-membrane domain of TatC. Cross-linking of TatCI50Bpa resulted in TatC-TatC-cross-links, indicating a close proximity to neighboring TatC in the complex. However, the new complex was not caused by cross-links but rather by non-covalent side chain interactions, as it was also detectable without UV-cross-linking or with an I50Y exchange. The new complex did not contain any detectable substrate. It was slightly upshifted relative to previously reported substrate-containing TatABC complexes. In the absence of TatA, an inactive TatBCI50Bpa complex was formed of the size of wild-type substrate-containing TatABC complexes, suggesting that TatB occupies TatA-binding sites at TatCI50Bpa. When substrate binding was abolished by point mutations, this TatBCI50Bpa complex shifted analogously to active TatABCI50Bpa complexes, indicating that a defect substrate-binding site further enhances TatB association to TatA-binding sites. Only TatA could shift the complex with an intact substrate-binding site, which explains the TatA requirement for substrate transport by TatABC systems.

Institute of Microbiology
Frontiers in Microbiology
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Microbiology, Microbiology (medical)
Electronic version(s)
https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.01482 (Access: Open)
https://doi.org/10.15488/5218 (Access: Open)