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Ex Vivo Analysis of Synergistic Anion Binding to FbpA in Gram-Negative Bacteria

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journal contribution
posted on 08.04.2008, 00:00 by Petra L. Roulhac, Katherine D. Weaver, Pratima Adhikari, Damon S. Anderson, Patrick D. DeArmond, Timothy A. Mietzner, Alvin L. Crumbliss, Michael C. Fitzgerald
Ferric binding protein, FbpA, is a member of the transferrin superfamily whose function is to move an essential nutrient, iron, across the periplasm and into the cytosol through formation of a ternary complex containing Fe3+ and a synergistic anion, X. Here we utilize SUPREX (stability of unpurified proteins from rates of H/D exchange) to determine the identification and distribution of the synergistic anion in FeFbpA-X species in periplasmic preparations from Gram-negative bacteria. SUPREX is a mass spectrometry-based technique uniquely suited for thermodynamic analyses of protein–ligand complexes in complex biological mixtures such as periplasmic preparations. Model binary mixtures of FeFbpA-Cit and FeFbpA-PO4 were initially characterized by SUPREX due to the likely presence of citrate and phosphate ions in the periplasm. Ex vivo SUPREX analyses were performed on FeFbpA-X species overexpressed in an Escherichia coli cell line and on endogenous FeFbpA-X species in Neisseria gonorrheae. Detected in the E. coli periplasmic extract were two distinct populations of FbpA, including one in which the protein was unliganded (i.e., apoFbpA) and one in which the protein was bound to iron and the synergistic anion, phosphate (i.e., FeFbpA-PO4). FeFbpA-PO4 was the only population of FbpA molecules detected in the N. gonorrheae periplasmic extract. This work provides the first determination of the identity of the in vivo anion bound to FeFbpA-X in the periplasm and substantiates the hypothesis that the synergistic anion plays a structural and functional role in FbpA-mediated transport of iron across the periplasm and into the cytosol.