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J Bacteriol. 2008 Jun;190(12):4162-72. doi: 10.1128/JB.00294-08. Epub 2008 Apr 11.

Single gene deletions of mrpA to mrpG and mrpE point mutations affect activity of the Mrp Na+/H+ antiporter of alkaliphilic Bacillus and formation of hetero-oligomeric Mrp complexes.

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  • 1Graduate School of Life Sciences, Toyo University, Oura-gun, Gunma 374-0193, Japan.


Mrp antiporters catalyze secondary Na(+)(Li(+))/H(+) antiport and/or K(+)/H(+) antiport that is physiologically important in diverse bacteria. An additional capacity for anion flux has been observed for a few systems. Mrp is unique among antiporters in that it requires all six or seven hydrophobic gene products (MrpA to MrpG) of the mrp operon for full antiporter activity, but MrpE has been reported to be dispensable. Here, the membrane complexes formed by Mrp proteins were examined using a cloned mrp operon from alkaliphilic Bacillus pseudofirmus OF4. The operon was engineered so that the seven Mrp proteins could be detected in single samples. Membrane extracts of an antiporter-deficient Escherichia coli strain expressing this construct were analyzed by blue native-sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Mrp complexes of two sizes were identified containing all seven Mrp proteins. Studies of the single nonpolar mrp gene deletions in the construct showed that a subcomplex of MrpA, MrpB, MrpC, and MrpD was formed in the absence of MrpE, MrpF, or MrpG. By contrast, MrpE, MrpF, and MrpG were not observed in membranes lacking MrpA, MrpB, MrpC, or MrpD. Although MrpA and MrpD have been hypothesized to be the antiporter proteins, the MrpA-to-D complex was inactive. Every Mrp protein was required for an activity level near that of the wild-type Na(+)/H(+) antiporter, but a very low activity level was observed in the absence of MrpE. The introduction of an MrpE(P114G) mutation into the full Mrp complex led to antiport activity with a greatly increased apparent K(m) value for Na(+). The results suggested that interactions among the proteins of heterooligomeric Mrp complexes strongly impact antiporter properties.

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