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Biochemistry. 2005 Mar 22;44(11):4312-21.

Time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer shows that the bacterial multidrug ABC half-transporter BmrA functions as a homodimer.

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Institut de Biologie et Chimie des Protéines, UMR 5086 CNRS-UCBL1 and IFR 128, 7 passage du Vercors, 69367 Lyon Cedex 07, France.


Members of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters share the same basic architecture, with a four-core domain made of two transmembrane plus two nucleotide-binding domains. However, a supramolecular organization has been detected in some ABC transporters, which might be relevant to physiological regulation of substrate transport. Here, the oligomerization status of a bacterial half-ABC multidrug transporter, BmrA, was investigated. Each BmrA monomer containing a single cysteine residue introduced close to either the Walker A or the ABC signature motifs was labeled using two probes, 2-(4-maleimidoanilino)naphthalene-6-sulfonic acid (fluorescence donor) or 4-dimethylaminophenylazophenyl-4'-maleimide (fluorescence acceptor). Reconstitution into proteoliposomes of BmrA monomers labeled separately with either the fluorescence donor or the fluorescence acceptor allowed measurement of time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer between the two probes, showing that efficient reassociation of the singly labeled BmrA monomers occurred upon reconstitution. The efficiency of energy transfer studied as a function of increasing concentration of BmrA-labeled with the fluorescence acceptor argues for a dimeric association of BmrA instead of a tetrameric one. Furthermore, the efficiency of energy transfer allowed estimation of the distances between the two bound probes. Results suggest that, in the resting state, BmrA in a lipid bilayer environment preferentially adopts a closed conformation similar to that found in the BtuCD crystal structure and that the presence of different effectors does not substantially modify its global conformation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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