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Membrane-associated maturation of the heterotetrameric nitrate reductase of Thermus thermophilus

AuthorsZafra, Olga ; Cava, Felipe ; Blasco, Francis; Magalon, Axel; Berenguer, José
KeywordsThermus thermophilus
Issue Date2005
PublisherAmerican Society for Microbiology
CitationJournal of Bacteriology, p. 3990-3996, Vol. 187, No.12 (2005)
AbstractThe nar operon, coding for the respiratory nitrate reductase of Thermus thermophilus (NRT), encodes a di-heme b-type (NarJ) and a di-heme c-type (NarC) cytochrome. The role of both cytochromes and that of a putative chaperone (NarJ) in the synthesis and maturation of NRT was studied. Mutants of T. thermophilus lacking either NarI or NarC synthesized a soluble form of NarG, suggesting that a putative NarCI complex constitutes the attachment site for the enzyme. Interestingly, the NarG protein synthesized by both mutants was inactive in nitrate reduction and misfolded, showing that membrane attachment was required for enzyme maturation. Consistent with its putative role as a specific chaperone, inactive and misfolded NarG was synthesized by narJ mutants, but in contrast to its Escherichia coli homologue, NarJ was also required for the attachment of the thermophilic enzyme to the membrane. A bacterial two-hybrid system was used to demonstrate the putative interactions between the NRT proteins suggested by the analysis of the mutants. Strong interactions were detected between NarC and NarI and between NarG and NarJ. Weaker interaction signals were detected between NarI, but not NarC, and both NarG and NarH. These results lead us to conclude that the NRT is a heterotetrameric (NarC/NarI/NarG/NarH) enzyme, and we propose a model for its synthesis and maturation that is distinct from that of E. coli. In the synthesis of NRT, a NarCI membrane complex and a soluble NarGJH complex are synthesized in a first step. In a second step, both complexes interact at the cytoplasmic face of the membrane, where the enzyme is subsequently activated with the concomitant conformational change and release of the NarJ chaperone from the mature enzyme.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JB.187.12.3990-3996.2005
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