Biochemical and structural investigation of the Mrp antiporter, an ancestor of complex I

By: Steiner, Julia
Material type: TextTextPublisher: IST Austria 2020Online resources: Click here to access online
Contents:
Abstract
Acknowledgments
About the Author
List of Publications Appearing in the Thesis
List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Symbols/ Abbreviations
1 Introduction
2 Methods
3 Results
4 Discussion
5 Appendix
6 References
Summary: Mrp (Multi resistance and pH adaptation) are broadly distributed secondary active antiporters that catalyze the transport of monovalent ions such as sodium and potassium outside of the cell coupled to the inward translocation of protons. Mrp antiporters are unique in a way that they are composed of seven subunits (MrpABCDEFG) encoded in a single operon, whereas other antiporters catalyzing the same reaction are mostly encoded by a single gene. Mrp exchangers are crucial for intracellular pH homeostasis and Na+ efflux, essential mechanisms for H+ uptake under alkaline environments and for reduction of the intracellular concentration of toxic cations. Mrp displays no homology to any other monovalent Na+(K+)/H+ antiporters but Mrp subunits have primary sequence similarity to essential redox-driven proton pumps, such as respiratory complex I and membrane-bound hydrogenases. This similarity reinforces the hypothesis that these present day redox-driven proton pumps are descended from the Mrp antiporter. The Mrp structure serves as a model to understand the yet obscure coupling mechanism between ion or electron transfer and proton translocation in this large group of proteins. In the thesis, I am presenting the purification, biochemical analysis, cryo-EM analysis and molecular structure of the Mrp complex from Anoxybacillus flavithermus solved by cryo-EM at 3.0 Å resolution. Numerous conditions were screened to purify Mrp to high homogeneity and to obtain an appropriate distribution of single particles on cryo-EM grids covered with a continuous layer of ultrathin carbon. A preferred particle orientation problem was solved by performing a tilted data collection. The activity assays showed the specific pH-dependent profile of secondary active antiporters. The molecular structure shows that Mrp is a dimer of seven-subunit protomers with 50 trans-membrane helices each. The dimer interface is built by many short and tilted transmembrane helices, probably causing a thinning of the bacterial membrane. The surface charge distribution shows an extraordinary asymmetry within each monomer, revealing presumable proton and sodium translocation pathways. The two largest and homologous Mrp subunits MrpA and MrpD probably translocate one proton each into the cell. The sodium ion is likely being translocated in the opposite direction within the small subunits along a ladder of charged and conserved residues. Based on the structure, we propose a mechanism were the antiport activity is accomplished via electrostatic interactions between the charged cations and key charged residues. The flexible key TM helices coordinate these electrostatic interactions, while the membrane thinning between the monomers enables the translocation of sodium across the charged membrane. The entire family of redox-driven proton pumps is likely to perform their mechanism in a likewise manner.
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Thesis

Abstract

Acknowledgments

About the Author

List of Publications Appearing in the Thesis

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Symbols/ Abbreviations

1 Introduction

2 Methods

3 Results

4 Discussion

5 Appendix

6 References

Mrp (Multi resistance and pH adaptation) are broadly distributed secondary active antiporters that catalyze the transport of monovalent ions such as sodium and potassium outside of the cell coupled to the inward translocation of protons. Mrp antiporters are unique in a way that they are composed of seven subunits (MrpABCDEFG) encoded in a single operon, whereas other antiporters catalyzing the same reaction are mostly encoded by a single gene. Mrp exchangers are crucial for intracellular pH homeostasis and Na+ efflux, essential mechanisms for H+ uptake under alkaline environments and for reduction of the intracellular concentration of toxic cations. Mrp displays no homology to any other monovalent Na+(K+)/H+ antiporters but Mrp subunits have primary sequence similarity to essential redox-driven proton pumps, such as respiratory complex I and membrane-bound hydrogenases. This similarity reinforces the hypothesis that these present day redox-driven proton pumps are descended from the Mrp antiporter. The Mrp structure serves as a model to understand the yet obscure coupling mechanism between ion or electron transfer and proton translocation in this large group of proteins. In the thesis, I am presenting the purification, biochemical analysis, cryo-EM analysis and molecular structure of the Mrp complex from Anoxybacillus flavithermus solved by cryo-EM at 3.0 Å resolution. Numerous conditions were screened to purify Mrp to high homogeneity and to obtain an appropriate distribution of single particles on cryo-EM grids covered with a continuous layer of ultrathin carbon. A preferred particle orientation problem was solved by performing a tilted data collection. The activity assays showed the specific pH-dependent profile of secondary active antiporters. The molecular structure shows that Mrp is a dimer of seven-subunit protomers with 50 trans-membrane helices each. The dimer interface is built by many short and tilted transmembrane helices, probably causing a thinning of the bacterial membrane. The surface charge distribution shows an extraordinary asymmetry within each monomer, revealing presumable proton and sodium translocation pathways. The two largest and homologous Mrp subunits MrpA and MrpD probably translocate one proton each into the cell. The sodium ion is likely being translocated in the opposite direction within the small subunits along a ladder of charged and conserved residues. Based on the structure, we propose a mechanism were the antiport activity is accomplished via electrostatic interactions between the charged cations and key charged residues. The flexible key TM helices coordinate these electrostatic interactions, while the membrane thinning between the monomers enables the translocation of sodium across the charged membrane. The entire family of redox-driven proton pumps is likely to perform their mechanism in a likewise manner.

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