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Coupling proteins in type IV secretion

AuthorsLlosa, Matxalen ; Alkorta, Itziar
KeywordsType IV secretion systems
DNA transfer
Coupling proteins
Bacterial conjugation
Issue Date2017
PublisherSpringer Nature
CitationType IV Secretion in Gram-Negative and Gram-Positive Bacteria: 143-168 (2017)
SeriesCurrent Topics in Microbiology and Immunology 413
AbstractType IV coupling proteins (T4CPs) are essential constituents of most type IV secretion systems (T4SSs), and probably the most intriguing component in terms of their evolutionary origin and functional role. Coupling proteins have coevolved with their cognate secretion system and translocated substrates. They are present in all conjugative systems, leading to the suggestion that they play a specific role in DNA transfer. However, they are also part of many T4SSs involved in bacterial virulence, where they are required for protein translocation, with no apparent involvement in DNA secretion. Their name reflects genetic and biochemical evidence of a connecting role between the substrate and the T4SS, thus probably playing a major role in substrate recruitment. Increasing evidence supports also a role in signal transmission leading to activation of secretion. Most studies have addressed conjugative coupling proteins of the VirD4-like protein family. Their conserved features include a nucleotide-binding domain, essential for substrate translocation, a C-terminal domain involved in substrate interactions, and a transmembrane domain anchoring them to the inner membrane, which is an important regulator of protein function. Purified soluble deletion mutants display ATP hydrolysis activity and unspecific DNA binding. Elucidation of the 3D structure of the soluble deletion mutant of the conjugative coupling protein TrwB, TrwBΔN70, provided the basis for further mutagenesis studies rendering interesting insights into the structure-function of these proteins. Their key role as couplers between substrate and transporter provides biotechnological potential as targets for anti-virulence strategies, as well as for customization of substrate delivery through heterologous secretion systems.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/978-3-319-75241-9_6
isbn: 978-3-319-75240-2
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