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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Sep 17;322(2):483-9.

Role of the membrane fusion protein in the assembly of resistance-nodulation-cell division multidrug efflux pump in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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Department of Molecular Life Science, Tokai University School of Medicine, 143 Shimokasuya, Isehara 259-1193, Japan.


The tripartite xenobiotic-antibiotic transporter of Pseudomonas aeruginosa consists of the inner membrane transporter (e.g., MexB, MexY), the periplasmic membrane-fusion-protein (e.g., MexA, MexX), and the outer membrane channel protein (e.g., OprM). These subunits were assumed to assemble into a transporter unit during export of the substrates. However, subunit interaction and their specificity in native form remained to be elucidated. To address these important questions, we analyzed the role of the individual subunits for the assembly of MexAB-OprM by pull-down assay tagging only one of the subunits. We found stable MexA-MexB-OprM complex without chemical cross-linking that withstand all purification procedures. Results of bi-partite interactions analysis showed tight association between MexA and OprM in the absence of MexB, whereas the expression systems lacking MexA failed to co-purify MexB or OprM. None of the heterologous subunit combinations such as MexA+MexY(his)+OprM and MexX+MexB(his)+OprM showed interaction. These results implied that the membrane fusion protein is central to the tripartite xenobiotic transporter assembly.

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