We demonstrate an attractive nanomachine "capture and transport" target isolation strategy based on molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs). MIP-based catalytic microtubular engines are prepared by electropolymerization of the outer polymeric layer in the presence of the target analyte (template). Tailor-made selective artificial recognition sites are thus introduced into the tubular microtransporters through complementary nanocavities in the outer polymeric layer. The new microtransporter concept is illustrated using bilayer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT)/Pt-Ni microengines and fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labeled avidin (Av-FITC) as the template. The avidin-imprinted polymeric layer selectively concentrates the fluorescent-tagged protein target onto the moving microengine without the need for additional external functionalization, allowing "on-the-fly" extraction and isolation of Av-FITC from raw serum and saliva samples along with real-time visualization of the protein loading and transport. The new micromachine MIP-based target isolation strategy can be extended to the capture and transport of other important target molecules, leading toward diverse biomedical and environmental applications.
The twin-arginine translocation (Tat) system accomplishes the remarkable feat of translocating large - even dimeric - proteins across tightly sealed energy-transducing membranes. All of the available evidence indicates that it is unique in terms of both structure and mechanism; however its very nature has hindered efforts to probe the core translocation events. At the heart of the problem is the fact that two large sub-complexes are believed to coalesce to form the active translocon, and 'capturing' this translocation event has been too difficult. Nevertheless, studies on the individual components have come a long way in recent years, and structural studies have reached the point where educated guesses can be made concerning the most interesting aspects of Tat. In this article we review these studies and the emerging ideas in this field. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Protein trafficking and secretion in bacteria. Guest Editors: Anastassios Economou and Ross Dalbey. (C) 2014 Published by Elsevier B.V.
Protein export is an essential mechanism in living cells and exported proteins are usually translocated through a protein-conducting channel in an unfolded state. Here we analyze, by electrical detection, the entry and transport of unfolded proteins, at the single molecule level, with different stabilities through an aerolysin pore, as a function of the applied voltage and protein concentration. The frequency of ionic current blockades varies exponentially as a function of the applied voltage and linearly as a function of protein concentration. The transport time of unfolded proteins decreases exponentially when the applied voltage increases. We prove that the ionic current blockade duration of a double-sized protein is longer than that assessed for a single protein supporting the transport phenomenon. Our results fit with the theory of confined polyelectrolyte and with some experimental results about DNA or synthetic polyelectrolyte translocation through protein channels as a function of applied voltage. We discuss the potential of the aerolysin nanopore as a tool for protein folding studies as it has already been done for a-hemolysin.
The Tat system mediates Sec-independent transport of folded precursor proteins across the bacterial plasma membrane or the chloroplast thylakoid membrane. Tat transport involves distinct high-molecular-weight TatA and TatBC complexes. Here we report the 3D architecture of the TatA complex from Escherichia coli obtained by single-particle electron microscopy and random conical tilt reconstruction. TatA forms ring-shaped structures of variable diameter in which the internal channels are large enough to accommodate known Tat substrate proteins. This morphology strongly supports the proposal that TatA forms the protein-conducting channel of the Tat system. One end of the channel is closed by a lid that might gate access to the channel. On the basis of previous protease accessibility measurements, the lid is likely to be located at the cytoplasmic side of the membrane. The observed variation in TatA diameter suggests a model for Tat transport in which the number of TatA protomers changes to match the size of the channel to the size of the substrate being transported. Such dynamic close packing would provide a mechanism to maintain the membrane permeability barrier during transport.
This Teaching Resource provides and describes two animated lessons that illustrate general properties of transport proteins. The lesson called "transport protein classes" depicts major classes and subclasses of transport proteins. The "transporters, mechanism of action" lesson explains how transporters and P class ATPase (adenosine triphosphatase) pumps function. These animations serve as valuable resources for any collegiate-level course that describes these important factors. Courses that might use them include introductory biology, biochemistry, cell biology, physiology, and biophysics.
Intraflagellar transport (IFT) proteins were first identified as essential factors for the growth and maintenance of flagella in the single-celled alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. In a screen for embryonic patterning mutations induced by ethylnitrosourea, here we identify two mouse mutants, wimple (wim) and flexo (fxo), that lack ventral neural cell types and show other phenotypes characteristic of defects in Sonic hedgehog signalling. Both mutations disrupt IFT proteins: the wim mutation is an allele of the previously uncharacterized mouse homologue of IFT172; and fxo is a new hypomorphic allele of polaris, the mouse homologue of IFT88. Genetic analysis shows that Wim, Polaris and the IFT motor protein Kif3a are required for Hedgehog signalling at a step downstream of Patched1 (the Hedgehog receptor) and upstream of direct targets of Hedgehog signalling. Our data show that IFT machinery has an essential and vertebrate-specific role in Hedgehog signal transduction.
The principles of natural protein engineering are obscured by overlapping functions and complexity accumulated through natural selection and evolution. Completely artificial proteins offer a clean slate on which to define and test these protein engineering principles, while recreating and extending natural functions. Here we introduce this method with the design of an oxygen transport protein, akin to human neuroglobin. Beginning with a simple and unnatural helix-forming sequence with just three different amino acids, we assembled a four-helix bundle, positioned histidines to bis-histidine ligate haems, and exploited helical rotation and glutamate burial on haem binding to introduce distal histidine strain and facilitate O2 binding. For stable oxygen binding without haem oxidation, water is excluded by simple packing of the protein interior and loops that reduce helical-interface mobility. O2 affinities and exchange timescales match natural globins with distal histidines, with the remarkable exception that O2 binds tighter than CO. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT
Protein turnover can be achieved via the lysosome/vacuole and the autophagic degradation pathways. Evidence has accumulated revealing that efficient autophagic degradation requires functional endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) machinery. However, the interplay between the ESCRT machinery and the autophagy regulator remains unclear. Here, we show that FYVE domain protein required for endosomal sorting 1 (FREE1), a recently identified plant-specific ESCRT component essential for multivesicular body (MVB) biogenesis and plant growth, plays roles both in vacuolar protein transport and autophagic degradation. FREE1 also regulates vacuole biogenesis in both seeds and vegetative cells of Arabidopsis. Additionally, FREE1 interacts directly with a unique plant autophagy regulator SH3 DOMAIN-CONTAINING PROTEIN2 and associates with the PI3K complex, to regulate the autophagic degradation in plants. Thus, FREE1 plays multiple functional roles in vacuolar protein trafficking and organelle biogenesis as well as in autophagic degradation via a previously unidentified regulatory mechanism of cross-talk between the ESCRT machinery and autophagy process.
Bacteria have mechanisms to export proteins for diverse purposes, including colonization of hosts and pathogenesis. A small number of archetypal bacterial secretion machines have been found in several groups of bacteria and mediate a fundamentally distinct secretion process. Perhaps erroneously, proteins called 'autotransporters' have long been thought to be one of these protein secretion systems. Mounting evidence suggests that autotransporters might be substrates to be secreted, not an autonomous transporter system. We have discovered a new translocation and assembly module (TAM) that promotes efficient secretion of autotransporters in proteobacteria. Functional analysis of the TAM in Citrobacter rodentium, Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli showed that it consists of an Omp85-family protein, TamA, in the outer membrane and TamB in the inner membrane of diverse bacterial species. The discovery of the TAM provides a new target for the development of therapies to inhibit colonization by bacterial pathogens.