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Mol Microbiol. 2003 Nov;50(4):1295-308.

Identification of an anion-specific channel in the cell wall of the Gram-positive bacterium Corynebacterium glutamicum.

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


A cation-selective channel (porin), designated PorA, facilitates the passage of hydrophilic solutes across the cell wall of the mycolic acid-containing actinomycete Corynebacterium glutamicum. Biochemical and electrophysiological investigations of the cell wall of the mutant strain revealed the presence of an alternative channel-forming protein. This porin was purified to homogeneity and studied in lipid bilayer membranes. It forms small anion-selective channels with a diameter of about 1.4 nm and an average single-channel conductance of about 700 pS in 1 M KCl. The PorBCglut channel could be blocked by citrate in a dose-dependent manner. This result was in agreement with growth experiments in citrate as sole carbon source where growth in citrate was impaired as compared with growth in other carbon sources. The PorBCglut protein was partially sequenced and based on the resulting amino acid sequence of the corresponding gene, which was designated as porB, was identified as an unannotated 381 bp long open reading frame (ORF) in the published genome sequence of C. glutamicum ATCC13032. PorBCglut contains 126 amino acids with an N-terminal extension of 27 amino acids. One hundred and thirty-eight base pairs downstream of porB, we found an ORF that codes for a protein with about 30% identity to PorBCglut, which was named PorCCglut. The arrangement of porB and porC on the chromosome suggested that both genes belong to the same cluster. RT-PCR from overlapping regions between genes from wild-type C. glutamicum ATCC 13032 and its ATCC 13032DeltaporA mutant demonstrated that this is the case and that porB and porC are cotranscribed. The gene products PorBCglut and PorCCglut represent obviously other permeability pathways for the transport of hydrophilic compounds through the cell wall of C. glutamicum.

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