Monday, October 23, 2017

The major outer sheath protein forms distinct conformers and multimeric complexes in the outer membrane and periplasm of Treponema denticola

Recent Article:

The major outer sheath protein (MOSP) is a prominent constituent of the cell envelope of Treponema denticola (TDE) and one of its principal virulence determinants. Bioinformatics predicts that MOSP consists of N- and C-terminal domains, MOSPN and MOSPC. Biophysical analysis of constructs refolded in vitro demonstrated that MOSPC, previously shown to possess porin activity, forms amphiphilic trimers, while MOSPN forms an extended hydrophilic monomer. In TDE and E. coliexpressing MOSP with a PelB signal sequence (PelB-MOSP), MOSPC is OM-embedded and surface-exposed, while MOSPN resides in the periplasm. Immunofluorescence assay, surface proteolysis, and novel cell fractionation schemes revealed that MOSP in TDE exists as outer membrane (OM) and periplasmic trimeric conformers; PelB-MOSP, in contrast, formed only OM-MOSP trimers. Although both conformers form hetero-oligomeric complexes in TDE, only OM-MOSP associates with dentilisin. Mass spectrometry (MS) indicated that OM-MOSP interacts with proteins in addition to dentilisin, most notably, oligopeptide-binding proteins (OBPs) and the β-barrel of BamA. MS also identified candidate partners for periplasmic MOSP, including TDE1658, a spirochete-specific SurA/PrsA ortholog. Collectively, our data suggest that MOSP destined for the TDE OM follows the canonical BAM pathway, while formation of a stable periplasmic conformer involves an export-related, folding pathway not present in E. coli.

The Treponema pallidum Outer Membrane

Recent Article:

The outer membrane (OM) of Treponema pallidum, the uncultivatable agent of venereal syphilis, has long been the subject of misconceptions and controversy. Decades ago, researchers postulated that T. pallidum’s poor surface antigenicity is the basis for its ability to cause persistent infection, but they mistakenly attributed this enigmatic property to the presence of a protective outer coat of serum proteins and mucopolysaccharides. Subsequent studies revealed that the OM is the barrier to antibody binding, that it contains a paucity of integral membrane proteins, and that the preponderance of the spirochete’s immunogenic lipoproteins is periplasmic. Since the advent of recombinant DNA technology, the fragility of the OM, its low protein content, and the lack of sequence relatedness between T. pallidum and Gram-negative outer membrane proteins (OMPs) have complicated efforts to characterize molecules residing at the host–pathogen interface. We have overcome these hurdles using the genomic sequence in concert with computational tools to identify proteins predicted to form β-barrels, the hallmark conformation of OMPs in double-membrane organisms and evolutionarily related eukaryotic organelles. We also have employed diverse methodologies to confirm that some candidate OMPs do, in fact, form amphiphilic β-barrels and are surface-exposed in T. pallidum. These studies have led to a structural homology model for BamA and established the bipartite topology of the T. pallidum repeat (Tpr) family of proteins. Recent bioinformatics has identified several structural orthologs for well-characterized Gram-negative OMPs, suggesting that the T. pallidum OMP repertoire is more Gram-negative-like than previously supposed. Lipoprotein adhesins and proteases on the spirochete surface also may contribute to disease pathogenesis and protective immunity.