- Heterologous production and characterization of two distinct di-heme containing membrane integral cytochrome b561 enzymes from Arabidopsis thaliana (2007)
- Cytochrome b561 (cyt b561) proteins are members of the recently identified eukaryotic ascorbate reducible protein family named CYBASC (CYtochrome B, ASCorbate reducible). CYBASC proteins are di-heme-b-containing membrane proteins that catalyze the transmembrane electron transfer from ascorbate. The function of the CYBASC proteins has been correlated with ascorbate recycling and/or iron facilitation uptake. Therefore, investigations on this family are of great interest as ascorbate is one of the most powerful antioxidants and iron is essential for cell survival both in animals and plants. As the amino acid sequence conservation of animal and plant CYBASC proteins is relatively high, all CYBASC members are proposed to share the same structural motifs. However, no three-dimensional structure of any representative member of the CYBASC family has been determined to date. In the Arabidopsis thaliana (A. thaliana) genome, two complete putative CYBASC open reading frames (ORFs), artb561-a and artb561-b were identified. In this thesis, these two A. thaliana CYBASC ORFs, encoding for Acytb561-A and Acytb561-B proteins respectively, were investigated and obtained main results are listed. 1. A. thaliana CYBASC proteins were heterologously produced in Pichia pastoris and Escherichia coli and purified by a single-step immobilized metal affinity chromatography (IMAC). To facilitate detection and purification, the recombinant A. thaliana CYBASC proteins were produced in both expression systems with the histidine affinity tag. Pure and stable preparations of the cytochromes were obtained via a single-step IMAC in sufficient amounts to perform biochemical characterizations. 2. Detergent solubilized recombinant Acytb561-A and Acytb561-B are dimers. As previously suggested for other CYBASC proteins, analytical gel filtration experiment suggested that both detergent solubilized cytochromes are dimers. 3. Spectroscopic features of Acytb561-B differed from those of previously described bovine chromaffin granule cyt b561. A distinctive feature of the first identified CYBASC protein, the cyt b561 from bovine chromaffin vesicles of adrenal medulla (Bcytb561-CG), is that its differential visible absorbance spectra (visible-spectra) revealed an asymmetric α-band with a maximum at 562 nm and a clear shoulder at 557 nm. This feature was recently used to discriminate CYBASC proteins from not-CYBASC proteins. However, in this thesis, it is shown for the first time that not all CYBASC proteins display in their reduced-minus-oxidized visible-spectra an asymmetric α- band and therefore, this feature can not be used as a discriminating CYBASC characteristic. 4. Ascorbate dependent reduction of the A. thaliana CYBASC proteins is inhibited by diethylpyrocarbonate (DEPC). As previously reported for the Bcytb561-CG, the ascorbatedependent reduction of the A. thaliana CYBASC proteins was inhibited by DEPC treatment. In addition, the ‘ascorbate protectant’ effect against DEPC that was observed on the Bcytb561-CG was also observed on the Acytb561-A and Acytb561-B proteins. Furthermore, as the physiological electron donor of all CYBASC proteins is supposed to be ascorbate, ascorbate-affinity of Acytb561- A and Acytb561-B was monitored and was found to be in the same range of the one of the Bcytb561- CG. 5. A. thaliana CYBASC proteins are Fe3+-chelate reductases. Recently, the Fe3+-chelate reductase activity of various CYBASC proteins was presented. In this thesis, it is shown that also both A. thaliana CYBASC proteins reduced Fe3+-chelates such as Fe3+-EDTA and Fe3+-citrate. Consistently, heme potentiometric reductive-oxidative titration of purified Acytb561-A and Acytb561-B indicated that the midpoint potential of the two heme centres of both cytochromes was lower than the one of those Fe3+-chelates. The values of both heme centre potentials of Acytb561-A and Acytb561-B are also consistent with the observation that both cytochromes were only partially reducible by ascorbate and were fully reduced with the non-physiological reductant Na-dithionite. In summary, this work describes the heterologous production, purification and initial characterizations of two distinct CYBASC proteins from A. thaliana: Acytb561-A and Acytb561-B. Biochemical characterization of these cytochromes showed that the shape of the α-band in the differential spectra is not a discriminating factor for CYBASC proteins but it is likely the DEPC sensitivity and the Fe3+-chelate reductase activity. Establishment of a purification strategy to obtain sufficient amounts of monodispersed and stable A. thaliana CYBASC proteins has also enabled initial screening of three dimensional crystallization conditions which are a prerequisite for a deeper understanding of this new eukaryotic redox enzyme family.
- The human GPCR nicotinic acid receptor 1 : heterologous overproduction in Pichia pastoris and the reconstitution of its complex with beta-Arrestin 1 in vivo and in vitro (2007)
- Nicotinic acid has been used in the clinical treatment of elevated blood lipid levels for over 50 years. Although it has a beneficial effect on myocardial infarction and blood lipid profiles, its widespread use has been hampered by side effects such as skin rashes and a burning sensation on the upper body. Since elevated blood lipid levels, especially ones of VLDL and LDL cholesterol are a frequent indication and high risk factor for coronary and cardiac diseases, finding a compound with an enhanced pharmacological profile, still holding the desired effects, but without inconvenient side effects, is a very appealing aim to many pharmaceutical companies. These efforts have already produced two marketed drugs, Acipimox and Acifran, but they have not been able to overcome the restrictions already imposed on the treatment by nicotinic acid. Although proposed long before, in the year 2000 the gene for the nicotinic acid receptor in mouse PUMA-G was cloned, and in 2003 the discovery of the genes HM74 and HM74A followed, which comprise the homologous low and high affinity receptors for nicotinic acid in humans. The discovery of this G Protein-coupled receptor target allowed a more directed approach for the search of alternative compounds. This work is the first report of the heterologous overexpression of the high affinity GPCR gene HM74A in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris. The protein product, NAR1, was pharmacologically characterized, and displayed a binding affinity of 224.8 nM to its ligand nicotinic acid, showing a similar activity profile compared to those displayed in human tissue, which were determined to be 60 nM to 90 nM. Additionally, inhibitory constants (Ki) for Acifran and Acipimox were determined to be 4.5 µM and 50.5 µM, respectively. Furthermore, the total yield of NAR1 reached 42 pmol/mg membrane protein, which corresponds to 0.4 mg of receptor produced per liter yeast culture, opening up the perspective of large scale protein production to facilitate high throughput screening drug discovery efforts and structural studies. In addition, NAR1 could be solubilized in n-decyl-β-D-maltopyranoside and purified to homogeneity after immobilized metal affinity chromatography and a second affinity chromatography step on immobilized monomeric avidin, yielding a single peak on gel filtration, while the purified receptor was able to bind ligand, as shown in NMR Saturation Transfer Difference (STD) measurements. It could be shown that NAR1 is desensitized by β-arrestin 1 in vivo in confocal microscopy studies on HEK and BHK cells. This finding provides a native binding partner for the stabilization of the receptor upon solubilization and purification. Finally human β-arrestin 1 could be produced as a constitutively active variant, comprising residues 1-382 in Pichia pastoris and Escherichia coli. The purified protein was used for in vitro binding experiments and shown to be capable of interacting with NAR1. Although the interaction and formation of the complex was only possible to a limited extent, it leaves open the perspective of crystallizing NAR1 in its active conformation, bound to nicotinic acid and β-arrestin 1.
- Solid-state NMR investigations of the ATP binding cassette multidrug transporter LmrA (2006)
- The development of resistance to multiple drugs is a major problem in treatment of number of infectious diseases and cancer. The phenomenon of multidrug resistance (MDR) is based on the synergetic interplay of a number of mechanisms such as target inactivation, target alteration, prevention of drug influx as well as active extrusion of drugs from the cell. The latter is mediated by over-expression of multidrug efflux pumps. The first discovered and the best characterized until now the human MDR transporter is P-glycoprotein. It is a member of the ATP binding cassette (ABC) superfamily and acts as an active transporter for a variety of anticancer agents using the energy released by ATP hydrolysis. The closest structure and functional homologue of P-glycoprotein found in bacteria is LmrA from Lactococcus lactis. The major goals of this work are to establish the selective isotope labelling of LmrA in Lactococcus lactis, to optimize LmrA sample preparation for solid-state NMR, and finally to perform first solidstate NMR investigations on LmrA shedding light on its catalytic cycle and substrate binding. For a long time the solid-state NMR applications to biological science has been limited to investigation of small molecules mostly. Recently, the solid-state NMR methods have shown potential for structuraland non-perturbing, site directed functional studies of large membrane proteins as well as ligands bound to them. However, to our knowledge neither selective isotope amino acid labelling of any ABC transporter, nor NMR investigations on full-length ABC transporter have been reported to date. Solidstate NMR experiments on a membrane protein require reconstitution of purified proteins into a membrane environment at a high density and either isotopic enrichment of the protein or bound drugs or inhibitors. Therefore, the large quantities of LmrA reconstituted at a high density in lipid membranes, sufficient for advanced NMR studies have been produced and its functional state in reconstituted form has been assessed. In the next step, a procedure for cost effective selective amino acids isotope labelling of LmrA in Lactococcus lactis has been established. Using this protocol deuterium alanine labelled LmrA reconstituted into E. coli liposomes has been prepared. Deuterium NMR has been used extensively to assess the proteins dynamics in past. However, it has never been applied to ABC transporter. Here, we report 2H NMR on selective alanine isotope labelled LmrA which has been used to shed light on the dynamics changes in the protein occurred under AMP-PNP, non-hydrolysable ATP analogue, binding and in ATP/ADP-Vanadate trapped state. It has been found that the major conformation changes affecting the protein motional characteristics occur in the ATP binding domains but not in the transmembrane domains. Additionally, the binding of several substrates to LmrA has been studied by fluorescence spectroscopy as well as by 19F and 31P solid-state NMR. The binding constants for several LmrA substrates have been obtained by fitting the concentration dependant tryptophan intrinsic fluorescence quenching curves. Based on the fluorescence studies and solid-state NMR data, the conformation changes in LmrA under substrate binding have been discussed. In addition, the preferable location of nine LmrA and P-glycoprotein substrates within the model membrane has been studied via 1H-MAS-NOESY-NMR. The results have been interpreted with respect to LmrA and P-glycoprotein binding site accessibility from the membrane interface region.
- NMR, EM and functional studies on TBsmr, a small multidrug transporter from M. tuberculosis (2008)
- Antibiotic resistance of pathogenic bacteria is a major worldwide problem. Bacteria can resist antibiotics by active efflux due to multidrug efflux pumps. The focus of this study has been the mycobacterial multidrug transporter TBsmr because it belongs to the small multidrug resistance (SMR) family whose members are a paradigm to study multidrug efflux due to their small size. SMR proteins are typically 11-12 kDa in size and have a four-transmembrane helix topology. They bind cationic, lipophilic antibiotics such as ethidium bromide (EtBr) and TPP+, and transport them across the membrane in exchange for protons. To understand the molecular mechanism of multidrug resistance, we have to gain information about the structure and function of these proteins. The research described in this thesis aimed to deduce details about the topology, transport cycle and key residues of TBsmr using biophysical techniques. Solid-state NMR (ssNMR) can provide detailed insight into structural organization and dynamical properties of these systems. However, a major bottleneck is the preparation of mg amounts of isotope labeled protein. In case of proteoliposomes, the problem is compounded by the presence of lipids which have to fit into the small active volume of the ssNMR rotor. In Chapter 3, an enhanced protein preparation is described which yields large amounts of TBsmr reconstituted in a native lipid environment suitable for further functional and structual studies. The achieved high protein-to-lipid ratios made a further characterization by ssNMR feasible. The transport activity and oligomeric state of the reconstituted protein in different types of lipid was studied as shown in Chapter 4. The exact oligomeric state of native SMR proteins is still uncertain but a number of biochemical and biophysical studies in detergent suggest that the minimal functional unit capable of binding substrate is a dimer. However, binding assays are not ideal since a protein may bind substrate without completing the transport cycle which can only be shown for reconstituted protein in transport assays.By combining functional data of a TPP+ transport assay with information about theoligomeric state of reconstituted TBsmr obtained by freeze-fracture electron microscopy, it could be shown that lipids affect the function and the oligomeric state of the protein, and that the TBsmr dimer is the minimal functional unit necessary for transport. The transport cycle must involve various conformational states of the protein needed for substrate binding, translocation and release. A fluorescent substrate will therefore experience a significant change of environment while being transported, which influences its fluorescence properties. Thus the substrate itself can report intermediate states that form during the transport cycle. In Chapter 5, the existence of such a substrate-transporter complex for the TBsmr and its substrate EtBr could be shown. The pH gradient needed for antiport has been generated by co-reconstituting TBsmr with bacteriorhodopsin. The measurements have shown the formation of a pH-dependant, transient substrate-protein complex between binding and release of EtBr. This state was further characterized by determining the Kd, by inhibiting EtBr transport through titration with non-fluorescent substrate and by fluorescence anisotropy measurements. The findings support a model with a single occluded intermediate state in which the substrate is highly immobile. Liquid-state NMR is a useful tool to monitor protein-ligand interactions by chemical shift mapping and thus identify and characterize important residues in the protein which are involved in substrate binding. In agreement with previous studies (Krueger-Koplin et al., 2004), the detergent LPPG was found to be highly suitable for liquid-state NMR studies of the membrane protein TBsmr and 42% of the residues could be assigned, as reported in Chapter 6. However, no specific interactions with EtBr were found. This observation was confirmed by LILBID mass spectrometry which showed that TBsmr was predominantly in the non-functional monomeric state. Functional protein was prepared in proteoliposomes which can be investigated by solidstate NMR (Chapter 7). Besides the essential E13, the aromatic residues W63, Y40, and Y60 have been shown to be directly involved in drug binding and transport. Different isotope labeling strategies were evaluated to improve the quality of the NMR spectra to identify and characterize these key residues. In a single tryptophan mutant of reconstituted TBsmr W30A, the binding of ethidium bromide could be detected by 13C solid-state NMR. The measurements have revealed two populations of the conserved W63 residue with distinct backbone structures in the presence of substrate. There is a controversy about the parallel or anti-parallel arrangement of the protomers in the EmrE dimer (Schuldiner, 2007) but this structural asymmetry is consistent with both a parallel and anti-parallel topology.
- Characterization of proteorhodopsin 2D crystals by electron microscopy and solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (2008)
- Proteorhodopsin (PR) originally isolated from uncultivated γ-Proteobacterium as a result of biodiversity screens, is highly abundant ocean wide. PR, a Type I retinal binding protein with 26% sequence identity, is a bacterial homologue of Bacteriorhodopsin (BR). The members within this family share about 78% of sequence identity and display a 40 nm difference in the absorption spectra. This property of the PR family members provides an excellent model system for understanding the mechanism of spectral tuning. Functionally PR is a photoactive proton pump and is suggested to exhibit a pH dependent vectorality of proton transfer. This raises questions about its potential role as pH dependent regulator. The abundance of PR in huge numbers within the cell, its widespread distribution ocean wide at different depths hints towards the involvement of PR in utilization of solar energy, energy metabolism and carbon recycling in the Sea. Contrary to BR, which is known to be a natural 2D crystal, no such information is available for PR til date. Neither its functional mechanism nor its 3D structure has been resolved so far. This PhD project is an attempt to gain a deeper insight so as to understand structural and functional characterization of PR. The approach combines the potentials of 2D crystallography, Atomic Force Microscopy and Solid State NMR techniques for characterization of this protein. Wide range of crystalline conditions was obtained as a result of 2D crystallization screens. This hints towards dominant protein protein interactions. Considering the high number of PR molecules reported per cell, it is likely that driven by such interactions, the protein has a native dense packing in the environment. The projection map represented low resolution of these crystals but suggested a donut shape oligomeric arrangement of protein in a hexagonal lattice with unit cell size of 87Å*87Å. Preliminary FTIR measurements indicated that the crystalline environment does not obstruct the photocycle of PR and K as well as M intermediate states could be identified. Single molecule force spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy on these 2D crystals was used to probe further information about the oligomeric state and nature of unfolding. The data revealed that protein predominantly exists as hexamers in crystalline as well as densely reconstituted regions but a small percentage of pentamers is also observed. The unfolding mechanism was similar to the other relatively well-characterized members of rhodopsin family. A good correlation of the atomic force microscopy and the electron microscopy data was achieved. Solid State NMR of the isotopically labeled 2D crystalline preparations using uniformly and selectively labeling schemes, allowed to obtain high quality SSNMR spectra with typical 15N line width in the range of 0.6-1.2 ppm. The measured 15N chemical shift value of the Schiff base in the 2D crystalline form was observed to be similar to the Schiff base chemical shift values for the functionally active reconstituted samples. This provides an indirect evidence for the active functionality of the protein and hence the folding. The first 15N assignment has been achieved for the Tryptophan with the help of Rotational Echo Double Resonance experiments. The 2D Cross Polarization Lee Goldberg measurements reflect the dynamic state of the protein inspite of restricted mobility in the crystalline state. The behavior of lipids as measured by 31P from the lipid head group showed that the lipids are not tightly bound to the protein but behave more like the lipid bilayer. The 13C-13C homonulear correlation experiments with optimized mixing time based on build up curve analysis, suggest that it is possible to observe individual resonances as seen in case of glutamic acid. The signal to noise was good enough to record a decent spectrum in a feasible period. The selective unlabeling is an efficient method for reduction in the spectral overlap. However, more efficient labeling schemes are required for further characterization. The present spectral resolution is good for individual amino acid investigation but for uniformly labeled samples, further improvement is required.
- Produktion, Reinigung und Charakterisierung von monovalenten Kation/Proton - Antiportern (2007)
- Eine wichtige Klasse von Membranproteinen ist die der aktiven sekundären Transporter. Diese Proteine werden in allen Spezies gefunden und verwenden einen Gradienten von löslichen Substanzen, um den Transport von Substraten voran zu treiben. Dieser Transportprozess ist essentiell, um die chemische Zusammensetzung des Zytoplasmas, wie Kalium- oder Natriumkonzentration von der des umgebenden Milieus unterschiedlich zu halten. Die Konzentration von K+ und Na+ in der Zelle sind wichtig für ein konstantes Zellvolumen, für die pH-Homöostase, für die Erregbarkeit von Nervenzellen und füür die Akkumulierung von Zuckern und Aminosöuren über Kotransportsysteme. In Bakterien wie Escherichia coli wird mit der Oxidation von Substraten durch die Elektronentransportkette ein Protonengradient und gleichzeitig eine Potentialdifferenz erzeugt. Ein Beispiel für einen sekundären Transporter, der diese Potentialdifferenz ausnutzt ist der Na+/H+-Antiporter NhaA, einer der am besten untersuchten Antiporter aus E. coli (Hunte, Screpanti et al. 2005). Dieser Antiporter ist essentiell für die Fähigkeit von Bakterien im alkalischen pH-Bereich zu überleben. Auch bei Säugetieren, sind die Isoformen der humanen Natrium/Protonen-Antiporter SLC9A1-SLC9A8 (NHE1-8) unentbehrlich für eine Reihe physiologischer Prozesse. So wird über die Antiporter-Aktivität nicht nur der Säure-Base-Haushalt und das Verhältnis des Zellvolumens zur Menge an Elektrolyten reguliert, Antiporter spielen ebenso eine wichtige Rolle bei der Adhäsion, Migration und Proliferation der Zelle (Orlowski and Grinstein 2004). Anomalien in diesem Bereich sind charakteristisch für maligne Zellen. Die Rolle von NHE1 in der Entwicklung von Tumoren ist daher ein wichtiger Ansatzpunkt für die Entwicklung von Krebsmedikamenten. Im Herz ist NHE1 die dominierende Isoform und wird damit zu einem pharmakologisch wertvollen Zielprotein (Malo and Fliegel 2006). Struktur und Mechanismus der meisten Antiporter ist bis dato jedoch noch nicht bekannt. Neben den klassischen Methoden der Pharmaentwicklung wird die strukturbasierende Wirkstoffentwicklung immer wichtiger um effiziente Medikamente ohne Nebenwirkung zu herzustellen. Hierfür werden jedoch 3D-Strukturen von Proteinen, sowie genaue Kenntnisse von deren Mechanismus benötigt. Zieht man in Betracht, dass 70% aller bis jetzt entwickelten Medikamente als Ziel ein Membranprotein haben, wird die Notwendigkeit klar, eine möglichst große Anzahl von Membranproteinstrukturen verfgbar zu haben. Wie bereits erwähnt ist die Klasse der monovalenten Kation/Proton-Antiporter aufgrund ihrer vielfältigen Aufgaben, eine äußerst wichtige Zielgruppe für die strukturbasierende Wirkstoffentwicklung. Die große Anzahl an entschlüsselten Genomen eröffnet hier ein breites Forschungsfeld füür die Strukturbiologie. In dieser Arbeit wurden daher Techniken und Methoden aus Hochdurchsatz-orientierten Strukturgenomikprojekten übernommen, um eine große Anzahl von Zielproteinen in ausreichender Menge für die funktionelle Charakterisierung und für die Kristallisation zu produzieren. Als Zielorganismen wurden Salmonella typhimurium LT2, Helicobacter pylori 26695, Aquifex aeolicus VF5 und Pyrococcus furiosus ausgewählt. Die Grundlage dieser Entscheidung hierfür waren die humanpathogenen Eigenschaften der beiden zuerst genannten Organismen und die Hyperthermophilie der beiden letzteren. Dadurch konnten sowohl klinische Anwendungsmöglichkeiten, als auch die potentiell höhere Stabilität der hyperthermophilen Proteine genutzt werden. Als Proteinzielgruppe wurden die monovalenten Kation/Proton-Antiporter aus allen 4 Organismen ausgewählt. Des Weiteren wurden Antiporter zweier eukaryotischer Systeme, Saccharomyces cerevisiae und Homo sapiens in die Zielproteingruppe aufgenommen. In dieser Arbeit wurden 24 verschiedene monovalente Kation/Proton-Antiporter untersucht. Von diesen 24 Zielproteinen konnten 12 in Expressionsvektoren kloniert und produziert werden. Von diesen 12 Antiportern konnten die Zielproteine STM0039 (STNhaA), HP1552 (HPNhaA), STM1556 (NhaC) und PF2032 (NhaC) in einer für die Kristallisation ausreichenden Homogenität und Ausbeute gereinigt werden. Mit der Ausnahme von HP1552 ist bis heute in keiner Veröffentlichung über diese Zielproteine berichtet worden. Durch Komplementationsexperimente mit dem E. coli-Deletionsstamm EP432 konnten eine Reihe von Zielproteine (STM0039, HP1552, PF2032, Aq_2030, STM1806, STM1556) bezüglich ihrer Fähigkeiten zum Na+/H+-Antiport untersucht werden. Die Ziel-proteine STM0039, STM1556 und HP1552 konnten zum ersten Mal kloniert, produziert, gereinigt und anschlieáen in Liposomen rekonstitutiert werden.Weiterhin konnte durch SSM-Messung die pH-Regulation der Zielproteine STM0039 und HP1552 gezeigt werden. Im Gegensatz zu bisherigen Literaturangaben ist HP1552 im pH-Bereich von pH 6 bis 8,5 nicht konstitutiv aktiv, sondern erfährt eine ähnliche Aktivierung wie STM0039 oder ECNhaA. STM0039 lässt sich zudem durch 2-Aminoperimidin inhibieren. Für STM0039 konnten die ersten Proteinkristalle der inaktiven Konformation bei pH 4 erzeugt werden. Weiterhin wurde in dieser Arbeit ein gegen das Zielprotein STM0039 gerichtetes scFV-Antikörperfragment (F6scFv) eingehend charakterisiert. Durch die Ko-Kristallisation des Antikörperfragments F6scFv mit STM0039 konnten die ersten 3 dimensionalen Kristalle in einer aktiven Proteinkonformation bei pH 7,5 erzeugt werden. Neben den bereits verfeinerten Kristallisationsbedingungen für das Zielprotein STM0039 wurden erfolgreich erste Kristallisationsbedingungen für STM0086 und PF2032 gefunden. Es wurde eine Vielzahl von Produktions- und Reinigungsprotokollen füür die Zielproteine etabliert. Dadurch ist der Grundstein füür weitergehende Charakterisierungs- und Kristalli-sationsexperimente gelegt. Die in dieser Arbeit etablierte Kombination von Hochdurch-satzmethoden mit klassischen Vorgehensweisen zur Proteincharakterisierung lassen sich leicht auf anderen Membranproteinklassen bertragen und die Geschwindigkeit der ver-schiedenen Schritte bis zur Strukturlösung stark beschleunigen.
- Purification and characterisation of the respiratory supercomplex III/IV from Corynebacterium glutamicum and phospholipid analysis of membrane proteins (2008)
- The respiratory chain is composed of protein complexes residing in the inner mitochondrial membrane of eukaryotes or in the cytoplasmic membrane of prokaryotes. This cellular energy converter transforms a redox potential stored in low potential substrates into an electrochemical potential across the respective membrane. Typical respiratory chains contain the complexes I, II, III and IV named according to their sequence in the respiratory chain reaction. Electrons of low potential substrates enter at complex I or II and are passed via complex III to complex IV where they are transferred to oxygen. The transport of electrons between the complexes is mediated by small electron shuttles like quinol or cytochrome c. Two different models describe their exchange either by (1) random collision of freely diffusible electron shuttles and membrane protein complexes or (2) arrangement of the complexes in supercomplexes enabling direct channeling of electron shuttles. In the Gram positive bacterium Corynebacterium glutamicum, the complex III to complex IV electron shuttle cytochrome c is not diffusible but a covalently bound part of the diheme cytochrome subunit QcrC of complex III. Therefore, the complexes III and IV have to form a supercomplex for electron transduction. The aim of this thesis was to purify and characterise this obligatory supercomplex III/IV of C. glutamicum. To gain sufficient biomass of C. glutamicum as starting material for purification, a phosphate buffered minimal medium was developed that enabled yield of total 120 g wet cell mass (38 g dry mass) in 12 L (6×2 L) shaking cultures. The determined conversion factor of glucose into biomass was 0.46 g/g indicating an intact respiratory chain. The yield was increased by bioreactor cultivation to ~690 g wet cell mass (~220 g dry mass) in ~10 L culture volume. A previously described homologous expression system was applied that produces the complex IV subunit CtaD with a fused Strep-tag II to facilitate purification. Affinity purifications using the Strep-tag II affinity to Strep-Tactin resin yielded a mixture of complexes and supercomplexes. Two supercomplex III/IV versions named supercomplex A and B and free complex IV were identified in this mixture by size exclusion chromatography, redox difference spectroscopy and two dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis including blue native polyacrylamide electrophoresis. The here presented downscaled blue native polyacrylamide electrophoresis method with analysis times of ~1 h enabled efficient screening of factors influencing the stability of supercomplex III/IV. The screening resulted that the integrity of supercomplex III/IV is preserved by using neutral detergents at minimal detergent to protein ratios for solubilisation and low detergent concentrations for purification and storage slightly above the required critical micellar concentration. Furthermore, pH <=7.5 is required for stability of supercomplex III/IV. Large biomass yields enabled upscaling of supercomplex III/IV affinity purification. Application of the identified stability conditions resulted in affinity purified samples free of supercomplex B. The major component supercomplex A was efficiently separated from residual free complex IV by preparative size exclusion chromatography. Concentration of purified supercomplex A by ultracentrifugation resulted in integrity of the supercomplex for several days at 4 °C. Purified supercomplex A contains ten different previously described subunits. The heme content of supercomplex A relative to the protein mass is heme A: 6.0 μmol/g, heme B: 6.5 μmol/g, and heme C: 5.8 μmol/g determined by redox difference spectroscopy and biochemical protein quantification. This indicates an equimolar ratio of complex III and complex IV in supercomplex A. Supercomplex A has quinol oxidase activity that is inhibited by stigmatellin or sodium azide. The turnover number of transferred electrons per complex III monomer is 148 s−1 at 25° C. The homogeneity and stability of the prepared supercomplex A enabled the growth of threedimensional crystals of up to 0.1 mm in length. Their composition of supercomplex A was verified by redox difference spectroscopy of intact crystals and blue native polyacrylamide electrophoresis of dissolved crystals. The crystals diffracted X-rays corresponding to a resolution of ~10 Å. Electron microscopy of negative stained samples revealed the uniform shape of purified supercomplex A particles with dimensions of 22 × 9 nm in the view plane. Combined heme quantification, size determination, determined activity, symmetry considerations, and particle shape indicate that supercomplex A has a central dimer of complex III and two monomers of complex IV on opposite sides. This conformation is functionally reasonable because it provides each complex III monomer with one complex IV monomer as electron acceptor. Therefore, the stoichiometry of supercomplex A is most likely III2IV2. The sensitivity of supercomplex A to detergents indicated a role of phospholipids in its stability. Therefore, a method for phospholipid identification and quantification was developed that is suitable for detergent solubilised crude and purified membrane protein samples. The analysis combines separation of phospholipid classes according to their head group by normal phase high performance liquid chromatography with evaporative light scattering detection. Calibration with external standard allows quantification of phospholipid amount in the range of 0.25-12 μg. The method is verified by analysing the phospholipid content of the well characterised complex III of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The reduction of its phospholipid content during its purification steps is monitored. The complex III sample purified to crystallisation quality contains the phospholipid content that was also observed in previously reported structures determined by X-ray crystallography. Purified stable supercomplex A from C. glutamicum revealed a large content of bound phospholipids. The main differences between intact supercomplex A and a mixture of potentially disintegrated smaller complexes is that intact supercomplex A has a doubled phosphatidic acid content and an increased phosphatidyl glycerol content. The importance of the small anionic phosphatidic acid for mediation of contacts between complexes in a supercomplex is discussed. The total phospholipid content of stable supercomplex A is sufficient for a complete belt surrounding the supercomplex in the membrane plane. This indicates that also all essential internal phospholipid binding positions are occupied and potentially stabilise supercomplex A.
- Biophysical and biochemical characterisation of the SMR proteins Hsmr and EmrE (2008)
- The increasing resistance of almost all pathogenic bacteria to antibiotics (multidrug resistance) causes a severe threat to public health. The mechanisms underlying multidrug resistance include the induced over expression of multidrug transporters which extrude a variety of lipophilic and toxic substrates in an energy dependent fashion through the membrane out of the cell. These proteins are found in all transporter families. The work described in this thesis is dedicated to drug-proton antiporters from the small multidrug resistance (SMR) family. These efflux pumps with just four transmembrane helices per monomer are so far the smallest transporters discovered. Their oligomeric state, topology, three dimensional structure, catalytic cycle and transport mechanism are still rather controversial. Therefore, the aim of this thesis was to directly address these questions for the small multidrug resistance proteins Halobacterium salinarium Hsmr and Escherichia coli (E. coli) EmrE using a number of biophysical methods such as NMR, transport assays, mass spectrometry and analytical ultracentrifugation. Especially the work on Hsmr has been challenging due to the halophilic nature of this protein. In Chapter 1, key questions and the most important biophysical techniques are introduced followed by Material and Methods in Chapter 2. Depending on experimental requirements, cell free or ‘classical’ in vivo expression has been used for this thesis. Cell free expression as an option for the production of small multidrug transporters has been explored in Chapter 3. It has been possible to produce the SMR family members Hsmr, EmrE, TBsmr and YdgF in vitro. The expression of Hsmr was investigated in more detail under different experimental conditions. Hsmr was either refolded from precipitate or maintained in a soluble form during expression in the presence of detergents and liposomes. Furthermore, amino acids for which no auxotrophic strains were available could be labelled successfully. This expression system has been also used for preparing labelled samples of EmrE as described in Chapter 9. In vivo in E. coli expression of Hsmr, as described in Chapter 4, provided large amounts of proteins if fermenter production was used. Uniform labelling and selective unlabelling with stable isotopes (13C, 15N) for NMR spectroscopy was achieved in vivo in a more efficient and cost effective manner than using the cell free approach for this protein. Hsmr could be purified successfully from both in vitro and in vivo expression media. Hsmr is expressed in vivo and in vitro with N-terminal formylation. The Nterminal formylation is unstable and Hsmr in the presence of low salt concentrations was amenable to N-terminal degradation. It was found that Hsmr shows longest stability in Fos-ß-choline® 12 and sodium dodecyl sulphate, but best reconstitution conditions were found, when dodecyl maltoside is used and exchanged with Escherichia coli lipids. A molar protein lipid ratio of 1 to 100, amenable to solid state nuclear magnetic resonance, has been achieved. Sample homogeneity was shown by freeze fracture electron microscopy. The oligomeric state of Hsmr in detergent has been assessed by SDS PAGE, blue native PAGE, size exclusion chromatography, analytical ultracentrifugation and laser induced liquid bead ion desorption mass spectrometry (LILBID) as described in Chapter 5. A concentration and detergent dependent monomer-oligomer equilibrium has been found by all methods. The activity of Hsmr under the sample preparation conditions used here was shown using radioactive and fluorescence binding as well as fluorescence and electrochemical transport assays (Chapter 6). For transport studies, a stable pH gradient was generated by co-reconstitution of Hsmr with bacteriorhodopsin and subsequent sample illumination. Based on the observed long term stability of Hsmr in Fos-ß-choline® 12 and sodium dodecyl sulphate, liquid state NMR experiments were attempted in order to assess the correct folding of Hsmr in detergent micelles (Chapter 7). 1D proton and 2D HSQC spectra of U-15N Hsmr revealed a poor spectral dispersion, low resolution and only a small number of peaks. These are at least partly due to long rotational correlation times of the large protein detergent complex. This problem has been overcome by applying solid-state NMR to Hsmr reconstituted into E. coli lipids (Chapter 8). Uniform 13C labelled samples were prepared and two dimensional proton-driven spin diffusion and double quantum-single quantum correlation spectra were acquired successfully. Unfortunately, the spectral resolution was not yet sufficient for further structural studies. Reasons for the observed linebroadening could be structural heterogeneity or molecular motions which interfere with the NMR timescale. Therefore, the protein mobility has been probed using static 2H solid state NMR on Ala-d3-Hsmr. It could be shown, that parts of Hsmr are remarkably mobile in the membrane and that this mobility can be limited by the addition of the substrate ethidium bromide. Ethidium bromide as well as tetraphenylphosphonium (TPP+) is typical multidrug transporter substrates. The membrane interaction of TPP+ in DMPC membranes has been resolved by 1H MAS NMR. It was found that it penetrates into the interface region of the lipid bilayers and therefore behaves like many other transporter substrates adding to the hypothesis that the membrane could act as a pre-sorting filter. Finally, Chapter 9 is dedicated to the characterisation of the essential and highly conserved residue Glu-14 in EmrE by solid-state NMR. In order to avoid spectral overlap, the single Glu EmrE E25A mutant was chosen instead of the wildtype. The protein has been produced in vitro to take advantage of reduced isotope scrambling in the cell free expression system as verified by analytical NMR spectroscopy. Correct labelling of EmrE was tested by MALDI-TOF and solid-state NMR. The dimeric state of DDM solubilised EmrE has been probed by LILBID. The labelled protein was reconstituted into E. coli lipids to ensure a native membrane environment. Activity was determined by measuring ethidium bromide transport. Freeze fracture EM revealed very homogeneous protein incorporation even after many days of MAS NMR experiments. 2D 13C double quantum filtered experiments were used to obtain chemical shift and lineshape information of Glu-14 in EmrE. Two distinct populations were found with backbone chemical shift differences of 4 - 6 ppm which change upon substrate binding. These findings indicate a structural asymmetry at the assumed dimerisation interface and are discussed in the context of a model for shared substrate/proton binding. These studies represent the first successful use of cell free expression to prepare labelled membrane proteins for solid-state NMR and allow for the first time an NMR insight into the binding pocket of a multidrug efflux pump.
- Pulsed EPR characterization of membrane transport protein complexes (2012)
- Pulsed electron–electron double resonance (PELDOR) spectroscopy is a powerful tool for measuring nanometer distances in spin-labeled systems and recently is increasingly applied to membrane proteins. However, after reconstitution of labeled proteins into liposomes, spin labels often exhibit a much faster transversal relaxation (Tm) than in detergent micelles, thus limiting application of the method in lipid bilayers. In the first part of the thesis, optimization of transversal relaxation in phospholipid membranes was systematically investigated by use of spin-labeled derivatives of stearic acid and phosphatidylcholine as well as spin-labeled derivatives of the channel-forming peptide gramicidin A under the conditions typically employed for PELDOR distance measurements. Our results clearly show that dephasing due to instantaneous diffusion that depends on dipolar interaction among electron spins is an important contributor to the fast echo decay in cases of high local concentrations of spin labels in membranes. The main difference between spin labels in detergent micelles and membranes is their local concentration. Consequently, avoiding spin aggregation and suppressing instantaneous diffusion is the key step for maximizing PELDOR sensitivity in lipid membranes. Even though proton spin diffusion is an important relaxation mechanism, only in samples with low local concentrations does deuteration of acyl chains and buffer significantly prolong Tm. In these cases, values of up to 7 μs have been achieved. Furthermore, our study revealed that membrane composition and labeling position in the membrane can also affect Tm, either by promoting the segregation of spin-labeled species or by altering their exposure to matrix protons. Effects of other experimental parameters including temperature (<50 K), presence of oxygen, and cryoprotectant type are negligible under our experimental conditions. In the second part of the thesis, inhomogeneous distribution of spin-labels in detergent micelles has been studied. A common approach in PELDOR is measuring the distance between two covalently attached spin labels in a macromolecule or singly-labeled components of an oligomer. This situation has been described as a spin-cluster. The PELDOR signal, however, does not only contain the desired dipolar coupling between the spin-labels of the molecule or cluster under study. In samples of finite concentration the dipolar coupling between the spin-labels of the randomly distributed molecules or spin-clusters also contributes significantly. In homogeneous frozen solutions or lipid vesicle membranes this second contribution can be considered to be an exponential or stretched exponential decay, respectively. In this study, it is shown that this assumption is not valid in detergent micelles. Spin-labeled fatty acids that are randomly partitioned into different detergent micelles give rise to PELDOR time traces which clearly deviate from stretched exponential decays. As a main conclusion a PELDOR signal deviating from a stretched exponential decay does not necessarily prove the observation of specific distance information on the molecule or cluster. These results are important for the interpretation of PELDOR experiments on membrane proteins or lipophilic peptides solubilized in detergent micelles or small vesicles, which often do not show pronounced dipolar oscillations in their time traces. In the third part, PELDOR has been utilized to study the structural flexibility of the Toc34 GTPase homodimer, a preprotein receptor of the translocon of the outer envelope of chloroplasts (TOC). Toc34 belongs to GAD subfamily of G-proteins that are regulated and activated by nucleotide-dependent dimerization. However, the function of Toc34 dimerization is not yet fully understood. Previous structural investigations of the Toc34 dimer yielded only marginal structural changes in response to different nucleotide loads. PELDOR revealed a nucleotide-dependent transition of the dimer flexibility from a tight GDP to a flexible GTP-loaded state. Substrate-binding stabilizes the dimer in the transition state mimicked by GDP-AlFx, but induces an opening in the GDP or GTP-loaded state. Thus, the structural dynamics of bona fide GTPases induced by GTP hydrolysis is replaced by substrate-dependent dimer flexibility, which represents the regulatory mode for dimerizing GTPases. In the fourth part of the thesis, conformational flexibility and relative orientation of the N-terminal POTRA domains of a cyanobacterial Omp85 from Anabaena sp. PCC 7120, a key component of the outer membrane protein assembly machinery, were investigated by PELDOR spectroscopy. Membrane proteins of the Omp85-TpsB superfamily are composed of a C-terminal β-barrel and a different number of N-terminal POTRA domains, three in the case of cyanobacterial Omp85. It has been suggested that the N-terminal POTRA domains (P1 and P2) might have functions in substrate recognition. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations predicted a fixed orientation for P2 and P3 and a flexible hinge between P1 and P2. The PELDOR distances measured between the P2 and P3 POTRA domains are in good agreement with the structure determined by X-ray, and compatible with the MD simulations suggesting a fixed orientation between these domains. PELDOR constraints between the P1 and P2 POTRA domains imply a rather rigid structure with a slightly different relative orientation of these domains compared with the X-ray structure. Moreover, the large mobility predicted from MD is not observed in the frozen solution. The PELDOR results further highlight the restricted relative orientation of the POTRA domains of the Omp85-TpsB proteins as a conserved characteristic feature that might be important for the processive sliding of the unfolded substrate towards the membrane.