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Atlanta, GA, United States

Wang H.,592 Petit Science Center | Ma Y.,592 Petit Science Center | Hsieh Y.-H.,592 Petit Science Center | Yang H.,592 Petit Science Center | And 4 more authors.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications | Year: 2014

SecA is an essential ATPase in bacterial Sec-dependent protein translocation pathway, and equilibrates between monomers and dimers in solution. The question of whether SecA functions as monomers or dimers in membranes during the protein translocation is controversial. We previously constructed a tail-to-head SecAA tandem dimer, and showed it is fully functional by complementation in vivo and protein translocation in vitro, indicating that SecA can function at least as a dimer in the membrane without dissociating into monomers. In this study, we further constructed genetically a tail-to-head SecAAA trimer, which is functional in complementing a temperature-sensitive secA mutant. The purified SecAAA trimer per protomer is fully active as SecAA tandem dimers in ATPase activity, in protein translocation in vitro and in ion channel activities in the oocytes. With these functional tail-to-head trimer SecAAA and tandem SecAA, we examined their surface topology in the presence of liposomes using AFM. As expected, the soluble SecAAA without lipids are larger than SecAA. However, the ring/pore structures of SecAAA trimers were, surprisingly, almost identical to the SecA 2-monomers and SecAA dimers, raising the intriguing possibility that the SecA may exist and function as hexamer ring-structures in membranes. Cross-linking with formaldehyde showed that SecA, SecAA and SecAAA could form larger oligomers, including the hexamers. The molecular modeling simulation shows that both tail-to-head and tail-to-tail hexamers in the membranes are possible. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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