The Lack of the Essential LptC Protein in the Trans-Envelope Lipopolysaccharide Transport Machine Is Circumvented by Suppressor Mutations in LptF, an Inner Membrane Component of the Escherichia coli Transporter

Mattia Benedet, Federica A. Falchi, Simone Puccio, Cristiano Di Benedetto, Clelia Peano, Alessandra Polissi, Gianni Deho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

The lipopolysaccharide (LPS) transport (Lpt) system is responsible for transferring LPS from the periplasmic surface of the inner membrane (IM) to the outer leaflet of the outer membrane (OM), where it plays a crucial role in OM selective permeability. In E. coli seven essential proteins are assembled in an Lpt trans-envelope complex, which is conserved in gamma-Proteobacteria. LptBFG constitute the IMABC transporter, LptDE form the OM translocon for final LPS delivery, whereas LptC, an IM-anchored protein with a periplasmic domain, interacts with the IM ABC transporter, the periplasmic protein LptA, and LPS. Although essential, LptC can tolerate several mutations and its role in LPS transport is unclear. To get insights into the functional role of LptC in the Lpt machine we searched for viable mutants lacking LptC by applying a strong double selection for lptC deletion mutants. Genome sequencing of viable Delta lptC mutants revealed single amino acid substitutions at a unique position in the predicted large periplasmic domain of the IM component LptF (LptF(SupC)). In complementation tests, lptF(SupC) mutants suppress lethality of both Delta lptC and lptC conditional expressionmutants. Our data show that mutations in a specific residue of the predicted LptF periplasmic domain can compensate the lack of the essential protein LptC, implicate such LptF domain in the formation of the periplasmic bridge between the IM and OM complexes, and suggest that LptC may have evolved to improve the performance of an ancestral six-component Lpt machine.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e0161354
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume11
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 16 2016

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