- Expression and characterization of P-type ATPases for structural studies (2007)
- Two types of proteins transport ions across the membrane – ion channels and ion pumps. Ion pumps transport ions against their electrochemical gradient by co-transporting another ion or a substrate molecule through a concentration gradient or by coupling this process to an energy source like ATP. Those that couple ATP hydrolysis to ion transport are called ion motive ATPases and can be classified as ‘V’, ‘F’ and ‘P’ types. In this thesis, two sub-classes of P-type ATPases, PIIIA and PIB were studied. Attempts were made to over-express and crystallize the plant proton pump AHA2 (a PIIIA-ATPase). Also, the two putative copper transporting ATPases, CtrA3 (CopB-like) and CtrA2 (CopA-like) from Aquifex aeolicus (both PIB pumps) were over-expressed in E. coli and characterized. PIIIA-type pumps transport protons across the membrane and are found exclusively in plants and fungi, and probably some archaea. One of the most characterized proton pump biochemically is the A. thaliana proton pump AHA2. An 8Å projection map of this enzyme is already available (Jahn 2001). PIBATPases, also called CPX type pumps transport heavy metal ions such as Cu+, Cu2+, Zn2+, Pb2+, Cd2+, Co2+ across biological membranes and play an important role in homeostasis and biotolerance of these metals. CopA and CopB are two such proteins that transport copper across cell membrane found in many prokaryotes. CopB-like proteins are found almost exclusively in bacteria, with CPH sequence motif, while CopA-like proteins have CPC sequence motif, also found in eukaryotic copper transporters including human ATP7A and ATP7B. CopB extrudes Cu2+ across the membrane. CopA is activated by and transports Cu+ but the direction of transport is debated. Attempts were made to over-express the plant proton pump AHA2 in yeast Pichia pastoris. However, the yeast expressed only a truncated protein, which could not be used for further studies. It can be concluded that P. pastoris strain SMD1163 is not a good host for expression of AHA2. Focus was then shifted to AHA2 that has been over-expressed and purified from S. cerevisiae strain RS72. Growth and purification protocols had to be changed from published methods because of laboratory constraints and this probably had an effect on the protein produced. The protein purified from S. cerevisiae could not be crystallized reproducibly for structural studies by electron microscopy. CtrA3 was expressed in E. coli and purified using Ni2+-NTA matrix. Like CopB of A. fulgidus (Mana Capelli 2003), it was active only in the presence of Cu2+ and to some extent in Ag+. The protein was maximally active at 75°C, at pH 7 and in presence of cysteine. Lipids were essential for the activity of CtrA3. However, when the protein was purified in Cymal-6, CtrA3 could not hydrolyze ATP, even when lipids were added to the reaction mixture. For reconstitution of CtrA3 into liposomes for 2D crystallization, several lipids were tested. To screen the lipids compatible for protein incorporation, CtrA3 was dialyzed with different lipids at a high lipid-to-protein ratio of 10:1 and centrifuged by sucrose density gradient. Protein incorporated in lipids localized with liposome fraction in the gradient. Most of the CtrA3 was incorporated into DPPC with no aggregation. This lipid was used for reconstitution of CtrA3 at low LPRs, and at an LPR of 0.3-0.5, the protein formed 2D crystals. A NaCl concentration of 50mM was necessary for the formation of crystals. However, salt removal by dialysis prior to harvesting was essential for obtaining wellordered lattices of CtrA3. Addition of preservatives like trehalose and tannin or direct plunging in liquid ethane for cryo-microscopy destroyed the crystal lattice. Similar to CtrA3, the gene responsible for expression of CtrA2 was amplified from genomic DNA of A. aeolicus and expressed in E. coli and purified by Ni2+-NTA. Functional characterization of CtrA2 was done by analyzing ATP hydrolysis activity of the enzyme. Similar to CopA of A. fulgidus (Mandal 2002), CtrA2 was activated in the presence of Ag+ and to some extent, Cu+. It is possible that both the copper ATPases of A. aeolicus have different ion selectivity- CtrA3, specific for Cu2+ and CtrA2, specific for Cu+. Maximal activity of CtrA2 was also at 75°C. Cysteine was essential for activity of CtrA2, but the protein was not dependent on addition of lipids for activation. Reconstitution of CtrA2 was done similar to CtrA3 for screening of lipids for 2D crystallization. Of the lipids tested, DOPC reconstituted the protein best. However, screening at low LPRs did not yield any crystals. Even though both CtrA3 and CtrA2 are similar heavy metal transporting Ptype ATPases from the same organism and have 36% identity, they behaved completely different in their expression levels in E. coli, purification profiles, activity and reconstitution in lipids.