Peptidoglycan-hydrolyzing activity of the FlgJ protein, essential for flagellar rod formation in Salmonella typhimurium.
Because the rod structure of the flagellar basal body crosses the inner membrane, the periplasmic space, and the outer membrane, its formation must involve hydrolysis of the peptidoglycan layer. So far, more than 10 genes have been shown to be required for rod formation in Salmonella typhimurium. Some of them encode the component proteins of the rod structure, and most of the remaining genes are believed to encode proteins involved in the export process of the component proteins. Although FlgJ has also been known to be involved in rod formation, its exact role has not been understood. Recently, it was suggested that the C-terminal half of the FlgJ protein has homology to the active center of some muramidase enzymes from gram-positive bacteria. In this study, we showed that the purified FlgJ protein from S. typhimurium has a peptidoglycan-hydrolyzing activity and that this activity is localized in its C-terminal half. Through oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis, we constructed flgJ mutants with amino acid substitutions in the putative active center of the muramidase. The resulting mutants produced FlgJ proteins with reduced enzymatic activity and showed poor motility. These results indicate that the muramidase activity of FlgJ is essential for flagellar formation. Immunoblotting analysis with the fractionated cell extracts revealed that FlgJ is exported to the periplasmic space, where the peptidoglycan layer is localized. On the basis of these results, we conclude that FlgJ is the flagellum-specific muramidase which hydrolyzes the peptidoglycan layer to assemble the rod structure in the periplasmic space. (+info)
Formation of membrane lattice structures and their specific interactions with surfactant protein A.
Biological membranes exist in many forms, one of which is known as tubular myelin (TM). This pulmonary surfactant membranous structure contains elongated tubes that form square lattices. To understand the interaction of surfactant protein (SP) A and various lipids commonly found in TM, we undertook a series of transmission-electron-microscopic studies using purified SP-A and lipid vesicles made in vitro and also native surfactant from bovine lung. Specimens from in vitro experiments were negatively stained with 2% uranyl acetate, whereas fixed native surfactant was delipidated, embedded, and sectioned. We found that dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine-egg phosphatidylcholine (1:1 wt/wt) bilayers formed corrugations, folds, and predominantly 47-nm-square latticelike structures. SP-A specifically interacted with these lipid bilayers and folds. We visualized other proteolipid structures that could act as intermediates for reorganizing lipids and SP-As. Such a reorganization could lead to the localization of SP-A in the lattice corners and could explain, in part, the formation of TM-like structures in vivo. (+info)
Location of translational initiation factor IF3 on the small ribosomal subunit.
The location of translational initiation factor IF3 bound to the 30S subunit of the Thermus thermophilus ribosome has been determined by cryoelectron microscopy. Both the 30S.IF3 complex and control 30S subunit structures were determined to 27-A resolution. The difference map calculated from the two reconstructions reveals three prominent lobes of positive density. The previously solved crystal structure of IF3 fits very well into two of these lobes, whereas the third lobe probably arises from conformational changes induced in the 30S subunit as a result of IF3 binding. Our placement of IF3 on the 30S subunit allows an understanding in structural terms of the biochemical functions of this initiation factor, namely its ability to dissociate 70S ribosomes into 30S and 50S subunits and the preferential selection of initiator tRNA by IF3 during initiation. (+info)
The C-terminal sequence of the lambda holin constitutes a cytoplasmic regulatory domain.
The C-terminal domains of holins are highly hydrophilic and contain clusters of consecutive basic and acidic residues, with the overall net charge predicted to be positive. The C-terminal domain of lambda S was found to be cytoplasmic, as defined by protease accessibility in spheroplasts and inverted membrane vesicles. C-terminal nonsense mutations were constructed in S and found to be lysis proficient, as long as at least one basic residue is retained at the C terminus. In general, the normal intrinsic scheduling of S function is deranged, resulting in early lysis. However, the capacity of each truncated lytic allele for inhibition by the S107 inhibitor product of S is retained. The K97am allele, when incorporated into the phage context, confers a plaque-forming defect because its early lysis significantly reduces the burst size. Finally, a C-terminal frameshift mutation was isolated as a suppressor of the even more severe early lysis defect of the mutant SA52G, which causes lysis at or before the time when the first phage particle is assembled in the cell. This mutation scrambles the C-terminal sequence of S, resulting in a predicted net charge increase of +4, and retards lysis by about 30 min, thus permitting a viable quantity of progeny to accumulate. Thus, the C-terminal domain is not involved in the formation of the lethal membrane lesion nor in the "dual-start" regulation conserved in lambdoid holins. Instead, the C-terminal sequence defines a cytoplasmic regulatory domain which affects the timing of lysis. Comparison of the C-terminal sequences of within holin families suggests that these domains have little or no structure but act as reservoirs of charged residues that interact with the membrane to effect proper lysis timing. (+info)
Three-dimensional microscopy of the Rad51 recombination protein during meiotic prophase.
An open question in meiosis is whether the Rad51 recombination protein functions solely in meiotic recombination or whether it is also involved in the chromosome homology search. To address this question, we have performed three-dimensional high-resolution immunofluorescence microscopy to visualize native Rad51 structures in maize male meiocytes. Maize has two closely related RAD51 genes that are expressed at low levels in differentiated tissues and at higher levels in mitotic and meiotic tissues. Cells and nuclei were specially fixed and embedded in polyacrylamide to maintain both native chromosome structure and the three dimensionality of the specimens. Analysis of Rad51 in maize meiocytes revealed that when chromosomes condense during leptotene, Rad51 is diffuse within the nucleus. Rad51 foci form on the chromosomes at the beginning of zygotene and rise to approximately 500 per nucleus by mid-zygotene when chromosomes are pairing and synapsing. During chromosome pairing, we consistently found two contiguous Rad51 foci on paired chromosomes. These paired foci may identify the sites where DNA sequence homology is being compared. During pachytene, the number of Rad51 foci drops to seven to 22 per nucleus. This higher number corresponds approximately to the number of chiasmata in maize meiosis. These observations are consistent with a role for Rad51 in the homology search phase of chromosome pairing in addition to its known role in meiotic recombination. (+info)
Spc29p is a component of the Spc110p subcomplex and is essential for spindle pole body duplication.
In yeast, microtubules are organized by the spindle pole body (SPB). The SPB is a disk-like multilayered structure that is embedded in the nuclear envelope via its central plaque, whereas the outer and inner plaques are exposed to the cytoplasm and nucleoplasm, respectively. How the SPB assembles is poorly understood. We show that the inner/central plaque is composed of a stable SPB subcomplex, containing the gamma-tubulin complex-binding protein Spc110p, calmodulin, Spc42p, and Spc29p. Spc29p acts as a linker between the central plaque component Spc42p and the inner plaque protein Spc110p. Evidence is provided that the calmodulin-binding site of Spc110p influences the binding of Spc29p to Spc110p. Spc42p also was identified as a component of a cytoplasmic SPB subcomplex containing Spc94p/Nud1p, Cnm67p, and Spc42p. Spc29p and Spc42p may be part of a critical interface of nucleoplasmic and cytoplasmic assembled SPB subcomplexes that form during SPB duplication. In agreement with this, overexpressed Spc29p was found to be a nuclear protein, whereas Spc42p is cytoplasmic. In addition, an essential function of SPC29 during SPB assembly is indicated by the SPB duplication defect of conditional lethal spc29(ts) cells and by the genetic interaction of SPC29 with CDC31 and KAR1, two genes that are involved in SPB duplication. (+info)
3-Dimensional configuration of perimysial collagen fibres in rat cardiac muscle at resting and extended sarcomere lengths.
1. We have used fluorescence confocal laser scanning microscopy to attain the three-dimensional (3-D) microstructure of perimysial collagen fibres over the range of sarcomere lengths (1.9-2.3 micrometers) in which passive force of cardiac muscle increases steeply. 2. A uniaxial muscle preparation (right ventricular trabecula of rat) was used so that the 3-D collagen configuration could be readily related to sarcomere length. Transmission electron microscopy showed that these preparations were structurally homologous to ventricular wall muscle. 3. Trabeculae were mounted on the stage of an inverted microscope and fixed at various sarcomere lengths. After a trabecula was stained with the fluorophore Sirius Red F3BA and embedded in resin, sequential optical sectioning enabled 3-D reconstruction of its perimysial collagen fibres. The area fraction of these fibres, determined from the cross-sections of seven trabeculae, was 10.5 +/- 3.9 % (means +/- s.d.). 4. The reconstructed 3-D images show that perimysial collagen fibres are wavy (as distinct from coiled) cords which straighten considerably as the sarcomere length is increased from 1.85 +/- 0.06 micrometer (near-resting length) to 2.3 +/- 0.04 micrometer (means +/- s.d., n = 4). These observations are consistent with the notion that the straightening of these fibres is responsible for limiting extension of the cardiac sarcomere to a length of approximately 2.3 micrometers. (+info)
Two structural transitions in membrane pore formation by pneumolysin, the pore-forming toxin of Streptococcus pneumoniae.
The human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae produces soluble pneumolysin monomers that bind host cell membranes to form ring-shaped, oligomeric pores. We have determined three-dimensional structures of a helical oligomer of pneumolysin and of a membrane-bound ring form by cryo-electron microscopy. Fitting the four domains from the crystal structure of the closely related perfringolysin reveals major domain rotations during pore assembly. Oligomerization results in the expulsion of domain 3 from its original position in the monomer. However, domain 3 reassociates with the other domains in the membrane pore form. The base of domain 4 contacts the bilayer, possibly along with an extension of domain 3. These results reveal a two-stage mechanism for pore formation by the cholesterol-binding toxins. (+info)