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Title: Structure and mode of action of the TolA-TolB complex from Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Author: Holmes, Peter
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 7848
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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Protein-protein interactions (PPIs) across the cell envelope of Gram-negative bacteria are critical for mediating signal transduction pathways that underpin cellular homeostasis. The Ton and Tol Pal systems are two conserved, ancestrally related protein networks that are also required for bacterial pathogenesis. Both Ton and Tol-Pal traverse the periplasm to effect different functions at the outer membrane (OM). Tol-Pal is composed of a homologous complex of three inner membrane proteins, TolQ-TolR-TolA (linked to proton motive force) and two additional periplasmic proteins TolB and Pal. The physiological role of the Tol-Pal system is to stabilise the OM, however the mechanism involved is unknown. TolA is however known to form a crucial protein-protein interaction via its C-terminus with the disordered N-terminus of TolB. Prior to this thesis, determination of the molecular features underlying a protein-protein complex between TolA and an endogenous binding partner TolB had never been accomplished. In this work, I describe the first structure comprising the TolA-TolB complex from Gram negative bacteria. The structure of this complex was determined from Pseudomonas aeruginosa by solution NMR spectroscopy. I determined the interaction between P. aeruginosa TolA and a TolB N terminal peptide to be relatively weak using fluorescence anisotropy. I found that TolB interacts with TolA through an analogous mechanism to that seen in TonB-dependent transporters. Based on these studies and bioinformatics analyses, I hypothesize that the evolutionary resilience of the Tol-Pal system to external pressures is contingent on the preservation of the TolA-TolB interface. Structure-based mutations within the TolA-TolB complex were also evaluated for their effect on in vivo function of the Tol-Pal complex and impact on complex formation in vitro. Taken together, the results demonstrate that protein networks which transduce energy to the OM through PMF-dependent systems in bacterial cells appear to follow a common β-strand augmentation mechanism.
Supervisor: Kleanthous, Colin Sponsor: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council ; Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ligand binding ; NMR ; Protein-Protein Interaction ; Tol-Pal ; TolA ; TolB