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- Accessory subunits of complex I from Yarrowia lipolytica (2005)
- Mitochondial NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase (complex I) the largest multiprotein enzyme of the respiratory chain, catalyses the transfer of two electrons from NADH to ubiquinone, coupled to the translocation of four protons across the membrane. In addition to the 14 strictly conserved central subunits it contains a variable number of accessory subunits. At present, the best characterized enzyme is complex I from bovine heart with a molecular mass of about 980 kDa and 32 accessory proteins. In this study, the subunit composition of mitochondrial complex I from the aerobic yeast Y. lipolytica has been analysed by a combination of proteomic and genomic approaches. The sequences of 37 complex I subunits were identified. The sum of their individual molecular masses (about 930 kDa) was consistent with the native molecular weight of approximately 900 kDa for Y. lipolytica complex I obtained by BN-PAGE. A genomic analysis with Y. lipolytica and other eukaryotic databases to search for homologues of complex I subunits revealed 31 conserved proteins among the examined species. A novel protein named “X” was found in purified Y. lipolytica complex I by MALDI-MS. This protein exhibits homology to the thiosulfate sulfurtransferase enzyme referred to as rhodanese. The finding of a rhodanese-like protein in isolated complex I of Y. lipolytica allows to assume a special regulatory mechanism of complex I activity through control of the status of its iron-sulfur clusters. The second part of this study was aimed at investigating the possible role of one of these extra subunits, 39 kDa (NUEM) subunit which is related to the SDRs-enzyme family. The members of this family function in different redox and isomerization reactions and contain a conserved NAD(P)H-binding site. It was proposed that the 39 kDa subunit may be involved in a biosynthetic pathway, but the role of this subunit in complex I is unknown. In contrast to the situation in N. crassa, deletion of the 39 kDa encoding gene in Y. lipolytica led to the absence of fully assembled complex I. This result might indicate a different pathway of complex I assembly in both organisms. Several site-directed mutations were generated in the nucleotide binding motif. These had either no effect on enzyme activity and NADPH binding, or prevented complex I assembly. Mutations of arginine-65 that is located at the end of the second b-strand and responsible for selective interaction with the 2’-phosphate group of NADPH retained complex I activity in mitochondrial membranes but the affinity for the cofactor was markedly decreased. Purification of complex I from mutants resulted in decrease or loss of ubiquinone reductase activity. It is very likely that replacement of R65 not only led to a decrease in affinity for NADPH but also caused instability of the enzyme due to steric changes in the 39 kDa subunit. These data indicate that NADPH bound to the 39 kDa subunit (NUEM) is not essential for complex I activity, but probably involved in complex I assembly in Y. lipolytica.
- Association of bacterial respiratory complexes (2006)
- The mitochondrial respiratory chain consists of NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase (Complex-I), succinate:ubiquinone reductase (Complex-II), ubiquinol:cytochrome c reductase (Complex-III), cytochrome c oxidase (Complex-IV) and cytochrome c as an electron mediator between Complex-III and Complex-IV. Paracoccus denitrificans membranes were used as a model system for the association of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. More than 50 years ago, a model was given for a supercomplex assembly formed by stable associations between these complexes. This model gradually shifted by the model of random diffusion given by Hackenbrock et al. 1986 Different independent approaches were used to further analyze this situation in a native membrane environment, thus avoiding any perturbation caused by detergent solubilization: (a) measuring the distance and orientation of the different complexes by multi-frequency EPR Spectroscopy we started to analyze simple system, the interaction between CuA fragment derived from P. denitrificans and various c type cytochrome by Pulsed X band and G band (180 GHz) EPR. Partner proteins for the CuA (excess negative surface charge) were (i) horse heart cytochrome c which contain a large number of positive charges in heme crevice,(ii) the cytochrome c552 soluble fragment (physiological electron donor and have positive charges), and as a control (iii) the cytochrome c1 soluble fragment (negative surface potential, derived from bc1 complex) The measurements were performed at several magnetic field positions varying temperature between 5 to 30 K. Both the X band and the high-field measurements show the existence of a strong relaxation enhancement of the CuA by the specific binding of the P. denitrificans cytochrome c552 and horse heart cytochrome c. This relaxation enhancement is dependent on temperature and provides information about the distance and relative orientation of the two interacting spins within this protein-protein complex. (b) For quantitative information about lateral diffusion of cytochrome c oxidase in the native membrane Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS) was used. In this experiment, diffusion coefficients for oxidase differ in the case of supercomplex for wild type membrane and for two deletion mutants lacking either Complex-I or Complex-III. (c) The optical absorption spectroscopy at microsecond level resolution was tried for the translational mobility of oxidase in membrane vesicles. Due to the presence of different hemes in the native membrane, carbon monoxide (CO) used as a probe for the experiment. The optimization of the experimental conditions were carried out to get the optimal signal.
- Biochemical, structural and functional characterization of diheme-containing quinol:fumarate reductases : the role of heme propionates and the enzymes from pathogenic e-proteobacteria (2005)
- The quinol:fumarate reductase (QFR) is the terminal reductase of anaerobic fumarate respiration, the most commonly occurring type of anaerobic respiration. This membrane protein complex couples the oxidation of menaquinol to menaquinone to the reduction of fumarate to succinate. The three-dimensional crystal structure of the QFR from Wolinella succinogenes has previoulsy been solved at 2.2 Å resolution. Although the diheme-containing QFR from W. succinogenes is known to catalyze an electroneutral process, structural and functional characterization of parental and variant enzymes has revealed active site locations which indicate electrogenic catalysis across the membrane. A solution to this apparent controversy was proposed with the so-called “Epathway hypothesis”. According to this, transmembrane electron transfer via the heme groups is strictly coupled to a parallel, compensatory transfer of protons via a transiently established pathway, which is inactive in the oxidized state of the enzyme. Proposed constituents of the E-pathway are the side chain of Glu C180, and the ring C propionate of the distal heme. Previous experimental evidence strongly supports such a role for the former constituent. One aim of this thesis is to investigate by a combination of specific 13C-heme propionate labeling and FTIR difference spectroscopy whether the ring C propionate of the distal heme is involved in redox-coupled proton transfer in the QFR from W. succinogenes. In addition to W. succinogenes, the primary structures of the QFR enzymes of two other e- proteobacteria are known. These are Campylobacter jejuni and Helicobacter pylori, which unlike W. succinogenes are human pathogens. The QFR from H. pylori has previously been established to be a potential drug target, and the same is likely for the QFR from C. jejuni. The two pathogenic species colonize mucosal surfaces causing several diseases. The possibility of studying these QFRs from these bacteria and creating more efficient drugs specifically active for this enzyme depends substantially on the availability of large amounts of high-quality protein. Further, biochemical and structural studies on QFR enzymes from e- proteobacteria species other than W. succinogenes can be valuable to enlighten new aspects or corroborate the current understanding of this class of membrane proteins.
- Biochemical, structural and functional characterization of diheme-containing succinate:quinone reductase (SQR) from Bacillus licheniformis (2010)
- Succinate:quinone oxidoreductases (SQORs) are integral membrane protein complexes, which couple the two-electron oxidation of succinate to fumarate (succinate → fumarate + 2H+ + 2e-) to the two-electron reduction of quinone to quinol (quinone + 2H+ + 2e- → quinol) as well as catalyzing the opposite reaction, the reduction of fumarate by quinol. In mitochondria and some aerobic bacteria, succinate:ubiquinone reductase, also known as complex II of the aerobic respiratory chain or as succinate dehydrogenase from the tricarboxylic acid (TCA or Krebs) cycle, catalyzes the oxidation of succinate by ubiquinone, which is mildly exergonic under standart conditions and not directly associated with energy storage in the form of a transmembrane electrochemical proton potential (Δp). Gram-positive bacteria do not contain ubiquinone but rather menaquinone, a quinone with significantly lower oxidation-reduction (“redox”) midpoint potential. In these cases, the catalyzed oxidation of succinate by quinone is endergonic under standard conditions. Consequently, these bacteria face a thermodynamic problem in supporting the catalysis of this reaction in vivo. Based on experimental evidence obtained on whole cells and purified membranes, it had previously been proposed that the SQR from Gram-positive bacteria supports this reaction at the expense of the protonmotive force, Δp. Nonetheless, it has been argued that the observed Δp dependence is not associated specifically with the activity of SQR because the occurrence of artifacts in experiments with bacterial membranes and whole cells can not be fully excluded. Clearly, definitive insight into the mechanism of catalysis of this intriguing reaction required a corresponding functional characterization of an isolated, membranebound SQR from a Gram-positive bacterium. The first aim of the present work addresses the question if the general feasibility of the energetically uphill electron transfer from succinate to menaquinone is associated specifically to a single enzyme complex, the SQR. The prerequisite to achieve this goal was stable preparation of this enzyme.
- Characterization of Aquifex aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase and its heterologous production in Escherichia coli (2013)
- This work presents a biochemical, functional and structural characterization of Aquifex aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase obtained using both a native form (AAF1FO) and a heterologous form (EAF1FO) of this enzyme. F1FO ATP synthases catalyze the synthesis of ATP from ADP and inorganic phosphate driven by ion motive forces across the membrane and therefore play a key cellular function. Because of their central role in supporting life, F1FO ATP synthases are ubiquitous and have been remarkably conserved throughout evolution. For their biological importance, F1FO ATP synthases have been extensively studied for many decades and many of them were characterized from both a functional and a structural standpoint. However, important properties of ATP synthases – specifically properties pertaining to their membrane embedded subunits – have yet to be determined and no structures are available to date for the intact enzyme complex. Therefore, F1FO ATP synthases are still a major focus of research worldwide. Our research group had previously reported an initial characterization of AAF1FO and had indicated that this enzyme presents unique features, i.e. a bent central stalk and a putatively heterodimeric peripheral stalk. Based on such a characterization, this enzyme revealed promising for structural and functional studies on ATP synthases and became the focus of this doctoral thesis. Two different lines of research were followed in this work. First, the characterization of AAF1FO was extended by bioinformatic, biochemical and enzymatic analyses. The work on AAF1FO led to the identification of a new detergent that maintains a higher homogeneity and integrity of the complex, namely the detergent trans-4-(trans-4’-propylcyclohexyl)cyclohexyl-α-D-maltoside (α-PCC). The characterization of AAF1FO in this new detergent showed that AAF1FO is a proton-dependent, not a sodium ion-dependent ATP synthase and that its ATP hydrolysis mechanism needs to be triggered and activated by high temperatures, possibly inducing a conformational switch in subunit γ. Moreover, this approach suggested that AAF1FO may present unusual features in its membrane subunits, i.e. short N-terminal segments in subunits a and c with implications for the membrane insertion mechanism of these subunits. Investigating on these unique features of A. aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase could not be done using A. aeolicus cells, because these require a harsh and dangerous environment for growth and they are inaccessible to genetic manipulations. Therefore, a second approach was pursued, in which an expression system was created to produce the enzyme in the heterologous host E. coli. This second approach was experimentally challenging, because A. aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase is a 500-kDa multimeric membrane enzyme with a complicated and still not entirely determined stoichiometry and because its encoding genes are scattered throughout A. aeolicus genome, rather than being organized in one single operon. However, an artificial operon suitable for expression was created in this work and led to the successful production of an active and fully assembled form of Aquifex aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase. Such artificial operon was created using a stepwise approach, in which we expressed and studied first individual subunits, then subcomplexes, and finally the entire F1FO ATP synthase complex. We confirmed experimentally that subunits b1 and b2 form a heterodimeric subcomplex in the E. coli membranes, which is a unique case among ATP synthases of non-photosynthetic organisms. Moreover, we determined that the b1b2 subcomplex is sufficient to recruit the soluble F1 subcomplex to the membranes, without requiring the presence of the other membrane subunits a and c. The latter subunits can be produced in our expression system only when the whole ATP synthase is expressed, but not in isolation nor in the context of smaller FO subcomplexes. These observations led us to propose a novel mechanism for the assembly of ATP synthases, in which first the F1 subcomplex attaches to the membrane via subunit b1b2, and then cring and subunits a assemble to complete the FO subcomplex. Furthermore, we could purify the heterologous ATP synthase (EAF1FO) to homogeneity by chromatography and electro-elution. Enzymatic assays showed that the purified form of EAF1FO is as active as AAF1FO. Peptide mass fingerprinting showed that EAF1FO is composed of the same subunits as AAF1FO and all soluble and membrane subunits could be identified. Finally, single-particle electron microscopy analysis revealed that the structure of EAF1FO is identical to that of AAF1FO. Therefore, the EAF1FO expression system serves as a reliable platform for investigating on properties of AAF1FO. Specifically, in this work, EAF1FO was used to study the membrane insertion mechanism of rotary subunit c. Subunits c possess different lengths and levels of hydrophobicity across species and by analyzing their N-terminal variability, four phylogenetic groups of subunits c were distinguished (groups 1 to 4). As a member of group 2, the subunit c from A. aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase is characterized by an N-terminal segment that functions as a signal peptide with SRP recognition features, a unique case for bacterial F1FO ATP synthases. By accurately designing mutants of EAF1FO, we determined that such a signal peptide is strictly necessary for membrane insertion of subunit c and we concluded that A. aeolicus subunit c inserts into E. coli membranes using a different pathway than E. coli subunit c. Such a property may be common to other ATP synthases from extremophilic organisms, which all cluster in the same phylogenetic group. In conclusion, the successful production of the fully assembled and active F1FO ATP synthase from A. aeolicus in E. coli reported in this work provides a novel genetic system to study A. aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase. To a broader extent, it will also serve in the future as a solid reference for designing strategies aimed at producing large multi-subunit complexes with complicated stoichiometry.
- Characterization of the two isoforms of cbb3-type cytochrome c oxidase from Pseudomonas stutzeri ZoBell (2014)
- Heme-copper oxidases (HCOs) are the terminal enzymes of the aerobic respiratory chain in the inner mitochondrial membrane or the plasma membrane in many prokaryotes. These multi-subunit membrane protein complexes catalyze the reduction of oxygen to water, coupling this exothermic reaction to the establishment of an electrochemical proton gradient across the membrane in which they are embedded. The energy stored in the electrochemical proton gradient is used e.g. by the FOF1-ATP synthase to generate ATP from ADP and inorganic phosphate. The superfamily of HCOs is phylogenetically classified into three major families: A, B and C. The A-family HCOs, represented by the well-studied aa3-type cytochrome c oxidases (aa3-CcOs), are found in mitochondria and many bacteria. The B-family of HCOs contains a number of bacterial and archaeal oxidases. The C-family comprises only the cbb3-type cytochrome c oxidase (cbb3-CcO) and is most distantly related to the mitochondrial respiratory oxidases.
- Crystallization and structural characterization of protein complexes involved in the energy metabolism of Yarrowia lipolytica (2009)
- 1. Fab co-complexes of proton pumping NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase (complex I) Fab fragments suitable for co-crystallization with complex I were generated using an immobilized papainbased protocol. The binding of the antibody fragments to complex I was verified using Surface Plasmon Resonance and size exclusion chromatography. The binding constants of the antibodies and their respective Fab fragments were found to be in the nanomolar range. This work presents the first report on successful crystallization of complex I (proton pumping NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase) from Yarrowia lipolytica with proteolytic Fab fragments. The quality of the crystals was significantly improved when compared to the initial experiments and the best crystals diffracted X-rays to a resolution of ~7 Å. The activity of complex I remained uninfluenced by antibody fragment binding. The initial diffraction data suggest that the complex I/Fab co-complex crystals represent a space group different to the one observed for the native protein. Ongoing experiments are aimed at further enhancements of the diffraction quality of the crystals. Providing a different space group the CI/Fab co-complexes may become a very useful approach for structure determination of the enzyme. Moreover, the bound Fab offers an additional possibility to generate phase information. The antibody-mediated crystallization represents a valuable tool in structural characterization of the NADH:oxidoreductase subcomplexes or even single subunits. 2. UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase from Yarrowia lipolytica displays affinity towards Ni2+ NTA and was first detected in a contaminated sample of complex I. Following, separation from complex I, Ugp1p was purified using anion exchange chromatography. Sequence similarity studies revealed high identity to other known pyrophosphorylases. As indicated by laser-based mass spectrometry method (LILBID) Ugp1p from Y. lipolytica builds octamers similarly to the enzyme from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The initial crystals grew as thin needles favorably in sitting drop setups. The size of the crystals was increased by employment of a micro batch technique. The improved crystals diffracted X-rays to a resolution of 3.2 Å at the synchrotron beamline. Structural characterization is under way using a molecular replacement approach based on the published structure of baker’s yeast UGPase.
- Development and application of optogenetic methods to functionally characterize synaptic transmission and neural circuits in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (2011)
- Electrogenic substrate binding to the Na +/proline transporter of E. coli (2005)
- The Na+/proline transporter of E. Coli (PutP) is responsible for the uptake of proline which is subsequently used not only as a carbon and nitrogen source and a constituent of proteins but also as a particularly effective osmoprotectant. However, for a long time there was little known about the single steps in the reaction cycle of this transporter and only few details about its structure-function relationship are available. Aim of the present work was to achieve a deeper understanding about the kinetic properties of the Na+/proline transporter and to get insights into the structure-function relationship of the substrate binding. To answer these questions different techniques were used. By using the novel SSM technique combining the preparation of PutP proteoliposomes it was possible to demonstrate for the first time the electrogenic substrate binding to PutP transporter. Due to rapid solution exchange measurements on the SSM it was additionally possible to obtain time resolved information about the kinetic details of the cytoplasmic substrate binding sites which were not available by previous steady state and equilibrium binding measurements. Pre-steady-state charge translocation was observed after rapid addition of one or both of the cosubstrates Na+ and/or proline to the PutP-WT proteoliposomes adsorbed on the SSM. Thereby it was possible to link the observed electrical signals with the binding activity of PutP. The observed Na+ and/or proline induced charge displacement were assigned to an electrogenic Na+ and/or proline binding process at the cytoplasmic face of the enzyme with a rate constant of k > 50 s-1 proceeding the rate limiting step of the reaction cycle. Furthermore, based on the kinetic analysis of the electrical signals obtained from the measurements of PutP on SSM, the following characteristics of the substrates binding in PutP were deduced: (1) both Na+ and proline can bind individually to the transporter. Under physiological conditions, an ordered binding mechanism prevails; while at sufficiently high concentrations, each substrate can bind in the absence of the other; (2) substrate binding is electrogenic not only for Na+, but also for the uncharged cosubstrate proline. The charge displacement associated with Na+ binding and proline binding is of comparable size and independent of the presence of the respective cosubstrate. In addition, it was concluded that Na+ accesses its binding site through a high-field access channel resulting in a charge translocation, whereas the binding of the electroneutral proline induces a conformation alteration involving the displacement of charged amino acid residue(s) of the protein; (3) Na+ and proline binding sites interact cooperatively with each other by increasing the affinity and/or the speed of binding of the respective cosubstrate; (4) proline binding proceeds in a two step process: low affinity (~ 0.9 mM) electroneutral substrate binding followed by a nearly irreversible electrogenic conformational transition; (5) membrane impermeable PCMBS inhibits both Na+ and proline binding to the inside-out orientated PutP transporter, indicating that rather than selectively blocking a specific binding site, PCMBS probably locks the enzyme in an inactive state. The possible targets for this SH-reagent are cysteines 281 and 344 located close to the cytoplasmic surface of the protein. Beyond it, transient electrical currents of PutP were also observed on the BLM after rapid addition of proline in the presence of Na+. This was possible by combining the conventional BLM technique with high-speed flash-photolysis of caged-proline. Indeed the signals on the BLM indicate the detection of a different underlying reaction process in comparison to the data achieved by the SSM technique. This has paved the way for supplemental information about the reaction cycle since it was possible to assign the flash-photolysis BLM signals to the proline binding step followed by the internalization of Na+ and proline into the liposome. Thereby it was found, that the presence of Na+ is indispensable and the time constant for the process is ~ 63 ms. Moreover, structure-function information about the Na+ and proline binding sites of PutP was obtained by investigating the functionally important amino acid residues Asp55, Gly63 and Asp187 with site-directed mutagenesis and the combined SSM technique. One finding is that the mutated proteins PutP-D55C and PutP-G63C showed no activity on the SSM. Therefore, it can be assumed that either both Asp55 and Gly63 are crucial for the structure of PutP protein, or they are located at or close to the Na+ and proline binding sites. Furthermore, the results obtained from PutP-D187N and PutP-D187C mutants on SSM suggest that Asp187 of PutP is likely to be involved in the Na+ binding at the cytoplasmic side of the backward running carrier. Taken together the results of the present work have substantially broadened the known picture of the Na+/proline transporter PutP thereby several steps of the reaction cycle were elucidated, and moreover, valuable insights into the structure-function relationship of the transporter have become available.
- Electrophysiological and spectroscopical characterization of the Na,K-ATPase (2005)
- The technique of site-specific fluorescence labelling with Tetramethylrhodaminemaleimide (TMRM) in combination with two electrode voltage-clamp technique (TEVC), an approach that has been named voltage clamp fluorometry (VCF), has been used in this work to study the Na,K-ATPase. The TMRM dye has the ability to attach covalently to cysteine residues and it responds to changes in the hydrophobicity of its local environment. We exploited this property using a construct of the Na-pump in which the native, extracellularly accessible cysteines were removed and cysteine residues were introduced by site-directed mutagenesis in specific positions of the Na-pump. In this way it was possible to detect site-specific conformational rearrangements of the Na-pump in a time-resolved fashion within a native membrane environment. In particular this technique allows to resolve reactions with low electrogenicity that cannot be satisfactorily analyzed with purely electrophysiological techniques and to identify the conformations of the enzyme under specific ionic composition of the measuring buffers. We used VCF to study the influence that several cations like Na+, K+, NMG+, TEA+ and BTEA+ exert on the distribution of the Na,K-ATPase between several enzymatic intermediates and on some of the reactions related to cation transport. To this end we utilized the mutants N790C in the loop M5-M6 and the mutant E307C, T309C, L311C and E312C in the loop M3-M4. From the correspondence of the fluorescence changes with the activation and inhibition of pumping current, by K+ and ouabain respectively, and from the fact that in Na+/Na+ exchange conditions the voltage distribution of charge movement and fluorescence changes evoked by voltage jumps are in reasonable agreement we conclude that through the fluorescence signals measured from these mutants, we can indeed monitor conformational changes linked to transport activity of the enzyme. For the mutants N790 and L311, it was found that the Na+ dependence of the amplitude and kinetics of the fluorescence signal associated with the E1P-E2P transition is in agreement with the prediction of an access channel model describing the regulation of the access of extracellular Na+ to its binding site. In particular for the mutants E307 and T309 it was found that in Na+/Na+ exchange conditions, the conformational change tracked by the fluorescence was much slower than the charge relaxation at hyperpolarized potentials while the kinetics was very similar at depolarized potentials. This implies that at hyperpolarized potentials the conformational change connected to the E1P-E2P transition does not give a large contribution to the electrogenicity of the process which is also consistent with the access channel model. On the mutant N790C it was found that the external pH does not seem to have any effect on the E1P-E2P equilibrium even if it seems to modulate the fluorescence quantum yield of the dye. Fluorescence quenching experiments with iodide and D2O indicate that at hyperpolarized potentials the local environment of the mutant N790C, experiences a small change in the accessibility to water without major changes in the local electrostatic field ...