Doctor of Philosophy, University of Michigan Ann Arbor (2011)
Theodore Jardetzky, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Capsules frequently play a key role in bacterial interactions with their environment. Escherichia coli capsules were categorized as groups 1 through 4, each produced by a distinct mechanism. Etk and Etp are members of protein families required for the production of group 1 and group 4 capsules. These members function as a protein tyrosine kinase and protein tyrosine phosphatase, respectively. We show that Etp dephosphorylates Etk in vivo, and mutations rendering Etk or Etp catalytically inactive result in loss of group 4 capsule production, supporting the notion that cyclic phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of Etk is required for capsule formation. Notably, Etp also becomes tyrosine phosphorylated in vivo and catalyzes rapid auto-dephosphorylation. Further analysis identified Tyr121 as the phosphorylated residue of Etp. Etp containing Phe, Glu or Ala in place of Tyr121 retained phosphatase activity and catalyzed dephosphorylation of Etp and Etk. Although EtpY121E and EtpY121A still supported capsule formation, EtpY121F failed to do so. These results suggest that cycles of phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of Etp, as well as Etk, are involved in the formation of group 4 capsule, providing an additional regulatory layer to the complex control of capsule production.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0037984
View details for Web of Science ID 000305341700030
View details for PubMedID 22675501
We report the 1.9 Å resolution crystal structure of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli GfcC, a periplasmic protein encoded by the gfc operon, which is essential for assembly of group 4 polysaccharide capsule (O-antigen capsule). Presumed gene orthologs of gfcC are present in capsule-encoding regions of at least 29 genera of Gram-negative bacteria. GfcC, a member of the DUF1017 family, is comprised of tandem ?-grasp (ubiquitin-like) domains (D2 and D3) and a carboxyl-terminal amphipathic helix, a domain arrangement reminiscent of that of Wza that forms an exit pore for group 1 capsule export. Unlike the membrane-spanning C-terminal helix from Wza, the GfcC C-terminal helix packs against D3. Previously unobserved in a ?-grasp domain structure is a 48-residue helical hairpin insert in D2 that binds to D3, constraining its position and sequestering the carboxyl-terminal amphipathic helix. A centrally located and invariant Arg115 not only is essential for proper localization but also forms one of two mostly conserved pockets. Finally, we draw analogies between a GfcC protein fused to an outer membrane ?-barrel pore in some species and fusion proteins necessary for secreting biofilm-forming exopolysaccharides.
View details for DOI 10.1021/bi101869h
View details for Web of Science ID 000291500200008
View details for PubMedID 21449614