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J Mol Biol. 2001 Oct 26;313(3):501-10.

Substrate-triggered recruitment of the TolC channel-tunnel during type I export of hemolysin by Escherichia coli.

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Department of Pathology, Cambridge University, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QP, UK.


A defining event in type I export of hemolysin by Escherichia coli is the substrate-triggered recruitment of the TolC channel-tunnel by an inner membrane complex. This complex comprises a traffic ATPase (HlyB) and the 478 residue adaptor protein (HlyD), which contacts TolC during recruitment. HlyD has a large periplasmic domain (amino acid residues 81-478) linked by a single transmembrane helix to a small N-terminal cytosolic domain (1-59). Export was disabled by deletion of the ca 60 amino acid residue cytosolic domain of HlyD, even though the truncated HlyD (HlyDDelta45) was, like the wild-type, able to trimerise in the cytosolic membrane, and interact with the traffic ATPase. The mutant HlyB/HlyDDelta45 inner membrane complex engaged the hemolysin substrate, but this substrate-engaged complex failed to trigger recruitment of TolC. Further analyses showed that HlyDDelta45 was specifically unable to bind the substrate. The result suggests that substrate engagement by the traffic ATPase alone is insufficient to trigger TolC recruitment, and that substrate binding to the HlyD cytosolic domain is essential. Analysis of three further N-terminal deletion variants, HlyDDelta26, HlyDDelta26-45 and HlyDDelta34-38, indicated that an extreme N-terminal amphipathic helix and a cytosolic cluster of charged residues are central to the cytosolic domain function. The cytosolic amphipathic helix was not essential for substrate engagement or TolC recruitment, but export was impaired without it. In contrast, when the charged amino acid residues were deleted, the substrate was still engaged by HlyD but engagement was unproductive, i.e. TolC recruitment was not triggered. Our results are compatible with the HlyD cytosolic domain mediating transduction of the substrate binding signal directly, presumably to the HlyD periplasmic domain, to trigger recruitment of TolC and assemble the type I export complex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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