Cryo-EM structures provide insight into how E. coli F1Fo ATP synthase accommodates symmetry mismatch
Nature Communications Springer Nature 11:1 (2020) 2615
Abstract:F1Fo ATP synthase functions as a biological rotary generator that makes a major contribution to cellular energy production. It comprises two molecular motors coupled together by a central and a peripheral stalk. Proton flow through the Fo motor generates rotation of the central stalk, inducing conformational changes in the F1 motor that catalyzes ATP production. Here we present nine cryo-EM structures of E. coli ATP synthase to 3.1–3.4 Å resolution, in four discrete rotational sub-states, which provide a comprehensive structural model for this widely studied bacterial molecular machine. We observe torsional flexing of the entire complex and a rotational sub-step of Fo associated with long-range conformational changes that indicates how this flexibility accommodates the mismatch between the 3- and 10-fold symmetries of the F1 and Fo motors. We also identify density likely corresponding to lipid molecules that may contribute to the rotor/stator interaction within the Fo motor.
Domain-swap polymerization drives the self-assembly of the bacterial flagellar motor.
Nature structural & molecular biology 23:3 (2016) 197-203
Abstract:Large protein complexes assemble spontaneously, yet their subunits do not prematurely form unwanted aggregates. This paradox is epitomized in the bacterial flagellar motor, a sophisticated rotary motor and sensory switch consisting of hundreds of subunits. Here we demonstrate that Escherichia coli FliG, one of the earliest-assembling flagellar motor proteins, forms ordered ring structures via domain-swap polymerization, which in other proteins has been associated with uncontrolled and deleterious protein aggregation. Solution structural data, in combination with in vivo biochemical cross-linking experiments and evolutionary covariance analysis, revealed that FliG exists predominantly as a monomer in solution but only as domain-swapped polymers in assembled flagellar motors. We propose a general structural and thermodynamic model for self-assembly, in which a structural template controls assembly and shapes polymer formation into rings.
A modular platform for one-step assembly of multi-component membrane systems by fusion of charged proteoliposomes
Nature Communications Nature Publishing Group 7 (2016) 13025
Abstract:An important goal in synthetic biology is the assembly of biomimetic cell-like structures, which combine multiple biological components in synthetic lipid vesicles. A key limiting assembly step is the incorporation of membrane proteins into the lipid bilayer of the vesicles. Here we present a simple method for delivery of membrane proteins into a lipid bilayer within 5 min. Fusogenic proteoliposomes, containing charged lipids and membrane proteins, fuse with oppositely charged bilayers, with no requirement for detergent or fusion-promoting proteins, and deliver large, fragile membrane protein complexes into the target bilayers. We demonstrate the feasibility of our method by assembling a minimal electron transport chain capable of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis, combining Escherichia coli F1Fo ATP-synthase and the primary proton pump bo3-oxidase, into synthetic lipid vesicles with sizes ranging from 100 nm to ∼10 μm. This provides a platform for the combination of multiple sets of membrane protein complexes into cell-like artificial structures.
Conformational spread as a mechanism for cooperativity in the bacterial flagellar switch.
Science 327:5966 (2010) 685-689
Abstract:The bacterial flagellar switch that controls the direction of flagellar rotation during chemotaxis has a highly cooperative response. This has previously been understood in terms of the classic two-state, concerted model of allosteric regulation. Here, we used high-resolution optical microscopy to observe switching of single motors and uncover the stochastic multistate nature of the switch. Our observations are in detailed quantitative agreement with a recent general model of allosteric cooperativity that exhibits conformational spread--the stochastic growth and shrinkage of domains of adjacent subunits sharing a particular conformational state. We expect that conformational spread will be important in explaining cooperativity in other large signaling complexes.
Stoichiometry and turnover in single, functioning membrane protein complexes
Nature 443:7109 (2006) 355-358