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Mol Microbiol. 1995 Mar;15(5):849-63.

The fimA locus of Streptococcus parasanguis encodes an ATP-binding membrane transport system.

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1
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Vermont, Burlington 05405, USA.

Abstract

The gene encoding fimA, a 36 kDa fimbrial adhesion of Streptococcus parasanguis FW213, is highly conserved in all four genetic groups of sanguis streptococci. FimA-like peptides were produced by all strains tested. The nucleotide sequence directly upstream of fimA contains two open reading frames, ORF5 and ORF1, whose deduced protein products are homologous to members of a superfamily of ATP-binding cassette membrane transport proteins, including both prokaryotic and eukaryotic uptake and export systems. The amino acid sequence of FimA contains the consensus prolipoprotein cleavage site (LxxC) common to the 'periplasmic' binding proteins of Gram-positive transport systems. The deduced product of ORF5 is a 28.6 kDa membrane-associated protein that has the consensus binding site for ATP (GxxGxGKS). It shares significant homology with AmiE of Streptococcus pneumoniae as well as with Escherichia coli proteins involved in iron(III) uptake. Allelic-replacement mutagenesis of ORF5 resulted in greatly increased resistance to aminopterin. These data demonstrate functionality with the amiE locus as well. The deduced product of ORF1 is an extremely hydrophobic integral membrane protein of 30.8 kDa with a pattern of six potential membrane-spanning regions, typical of a component of these types of transport system. The nucleotide sequence downstream of fimA, ORF3, encodes a 20 kDa protein having 78% identity with the 20 kDa protein encoded downstream of ssaB, a fimA homologue in S. sanguis 12. It also exhibits significant homology with bacterioferritin co-migratory protein (Bcp) of E. coli K-12. Allelic-replacement mutagenesis in the fimA locus of FW213 showed that (i) expression of fimA was initiated at a site far upstream of the fimA start codon, and (ii) expression of fimA was not linked to expression of ORF3. Northern blots probed with internal fragments of ORF5, ORF1, fimA or ORF3 hybridized to the same transcript of 3.3 kb, which suggested that these loci were transcribed as a polycistronic message. The ORF3 probe also hybridized to a 540 bp transcript consistent with the size of ORF3 alone and supportive of the mutagenesis data of non-linkage. Strains mutated in fimA continued to produce fimbriae, indicating that FimA was not the fimbrial structural subunit. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed FimA was localized at the tips of the fimbriae of FW213. This is the first study that demonstrates that an adhesin which binds a bacterial cell to a substrate is associated with an ATP-binding cassette.

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