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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2000 Dec 20;1509(1-2):485-95.

Discovery of a novel channel-forming protein in the cell wall of the non-pathogenic Nocardia corynebacteroides.

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Lehrstuhl für Biotechnologie, Biozentrum der Universität Würzburg, Am Hubland, D-97074, Würzburg, Germany.


Detergent extracts of whole cells of the Gram-positive, non-pathogenic, strictly aerobic bacterium Nocardia corynebacteroides contain channel-forming activity. The protein responsible for channel formation was identified using lipid bilayer experiments. It was purified to homogeneity and had an apparent molecular mass of about 134 kDa on SDS-PAGE when it was solubilized at 40 degrees C. When the 134 kDa protein was heated to 100 degrees C for 10 min in sample buffer, it dissociated into subunits with a molecular mass of about 23 kDa and focused at pI of 4.5 during isoelectric focusing. The pure 134 kDa protein was able to increase the specific conductance of artificial lipid bilayer membranes from phosphatidylcholine-phosphatidylserine mixtures by the formation of ion-permeable channels. The channels had an average single-channel conductance of 5.5 nS in 1 M KCl and were found to be cation-selective. Asymmetric addition of the 134 kDa protein to lipid bilayer membranes resulted in an asymmetric voltage-dependence. The analysis of the single-channel conductance as a function of cation radii using the Renkin correction factor and the effect of negative charges on channel conductance suggested that the diameter of the cell wall porin is about 1.0 nm. The channel characteristics of the cell wall channel of N. corynebacteroides were compared with those of other members of the mycolata. They share common features because they are composed of small molecular mass subunits and form large and water-filled channels.

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