- An ambiguous interface – on the transport mechanism of the ABC transport complex TAP (2012)
- The adaptive immune system protects against daily infections and malignant transformation. In this, the translocation of antigenic peptides by the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP) into the ER lumen is an essential step in the antigen presentation by MHC I molecules. The heterodimeric ATP-binding cassette transporter (ABC) TAP consist of the two halftransporters TAP1 and TAP2. Each monomer contains an N-terminal transmembrane domain (TMD) and a conserved C-terminal nucleotide-binding domain (NBD). Together, the TMDs build the translocation core and the NBDs bind and hydrolyze ATP, energizing the peptide transport. TAP features an asymmetry in the two ATP-binding sites that are built of several conserved motifs. One motif is the D-loop with the consensus sequence SALD. The highly conserved aspartate of the D-loop of TAP1 reaches into the canonic ATP-binding site and contacts the Walker A motif and the H-loop of the opposite NBD, while the Asp of D-loop of TAP2 is part of the non-canonic ATP-binding site. To examine this ABC transport complex in mechanistic detail, a purification and reconstitution procedure was established with the function of TAP being preserved. The heterodimeric TAP complex was purified via a His10-tag at TAP1 in a 1:1 ratio of the subunits. Nucleotide binding to the purified transporter was elucidated by tryptophan quenching assays and the affinity constants for MgADP and MgATP were determined to be 1.0 μM and 0.7 μM, respectevely. In addition, the TAP complex shows strict coupling between peptide binding and ATP hydrolysis, revealing no basal ATPase activity in the absence of peptides. Furthermore, TAP was reconstituted into proteoliposomes and the activity was tested by peptide transport and ATP hydrolysis. Interestingly, the kinetic parameters of the transporter in the reconstituted state are comparable to the data gained for TAP in microsomes. To characterize the functional importance of the D-loop, D-loop mutants of either TAP1 or TAP2 were analyzed. Strikingly, TAP containing a mutated D-loop in TAP1 (D674A) shows an ATP-hydrolysis independent peptide translocation. Accordingly, the MHC I surface expression is similar to the wildtype situation. However, the same mutation in TAP2 (D638A) results in an ATPase dependent peptide transport similar to wildtype, whereas TAP containing mutations in both subunits leads to an inactive transporter. Although all D-loop mutants showed no altered peptide binding activity, the TAP1 mutant is inactive in peptide-stimulated ATPase activity. Strikingly, ATP or ADP binding is strictly required for the peptide translocation. Experiments carried out in proteoliposomes demonstrate that wildtype TAP can export peptides against their gradient when low peptide concentrations are offered. In contrast, the D674A mutant can facilitate peptide translocation along their concentration gradient in the two directions. At high peptide concentrations, TAP is trapped in a transport incompetent state induced by trans-inhibition. In conclusion, a TAP mutant that uncouples solute translocation from ATP hydrolysis was created. Since this passive substrate movement is strictly dependent on binding of ATP or ADP, an active transporter was turned into a “nucleotide-gated facilitator”. In a cysteine cross-linking approach the conformational changes of TAP during peptide transport and the flexibility of the nucleotide binding domains were examined. Single cysteines were introduced in the D-loops of TAP1 and TAP2. Cross-linking by copper-phenantroline (CuPhe) was possible for all combinations. However, by adding ATP, ADP or peptide to the TAP complex no differences in the cross-linking efficiency were detected. By CuPhe cross-linking TAP was trapped in a conformation, in which the peptide binding site was not accessible. To complete a transport cycle, a flexibility of at least 17.8 Å of the NBDs is needed, since TAP cross-linked by CuPhe (2.0 Å) or bismaleimidoethane (BMOE, 8.0 Å) was transport inactive but when TAP was cross-linked by 1,11-bismaleimido-triethyleneglycol (BM[PEG]3, 17.8 Å) transport activity was preserved.