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J Mol Microbiol Biotechnol. 2009;16(3-4):176-86. doi: 10.1159/000119547. Epub 2008 Mar 3.

The Vibrio cholerae Mrp system: cation/proton antiport properties and enhancement of bile salt resistance in a heterologous host.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Man., Canada.


The mrp operon from Vibrio cholerae encoding a putative multisubunit Na(+)/H(+) antiporter was cloned and functionally expressed in the antiporter-deficient strain of Escherichia coli EP432. Cells of EP432 expressing Vc-Mrp exhibited resistance to Na(+) and Li(+) as well as to natural bile salts such as sodium cholate and taurocholate. When assayed in everted membrane vesicles of the E. coli EP432 host, Vc-Mrp had sufficiently high antiport activity to facilitate the first extensive analysis of Mrp system from a Gram-negative bacterium encoded by a group 2 mrp operon. Vc-Mrp was found to exchange protons for Li(+), Na(+), and K(+) ions in pH-dependent manner with maximal activity at pH 9.0-9.5. Exchange was electrogenic (more than one H(+) translocated per cation moved in opposite direction). The apparent K(m) at pH 9.0 was 1.08, 1.30, and 68.5 mM for Li(+), Na(+), and K(+), respectively. Kinetic analyses suggested that Vc-Mrp operates in a binding exchange mode with all cations and protons competing for binding to the antiporter. The robust ion antiport activity of Vc-Mrp in sub-bacterial vesicles and its effect on bile resistance of the heterologous host make Vc-Mrp an attractive experimental model for the further studies of biochemistry and physiology of Mrp systems.

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