National Center for
4ZBH: THE CRYSTAL STRUCTURE OF THE SOLUBLE DOMAIN OF SULFOLOBUS ACIDOCALDARIUS FLAF
FlaF Is a beta-Sandwich Protein that Anchors the Archaellum in the Archaeal Cell Envelope by Binding the S-Layer Protein
Structure (2015) 23 p.863-872
Archaea employ the archaellum, a type IV pilus-like nanomachine, for swimming motility. In the crenarchaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, the archaellum consists of seven proteins: FlaB/X/G/F/H/I/J. FlaF is conserved and essential for archaellum assembly but no FlaF structures exist. Here, we truncated the FlaF N terminus and solved 1.5-A and 1.65-A resolution crystal structures of this monotopic membrane protein. Structures revealed an N-terminal alpha-helix and an eight-strand beta-sandwich, immunoglobulin-like fold with striking similarity to S-layer proteins. Crystal structures, X-ray scattering, and mutational analyses suggest dimer assembly is needed for in vivo function. The sole cell envelope component of S. acidocaldarius is a paracrystalline S-layer, and FlaF specifically bound to S-layer protein, suggesting that its interaction domain is located in the pseudoperiplasm with its N-terminal helix in the membrane. From these data, FlaF may act as the previously unknown archaellum stator protein that anchors the rotating archaellum to the archaeal cell envelope.