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Intracellular vesicles induced by monotopic membrane protein in Escherichia coli

by Eriksson, Hanna M., PhD

Abstract (Summary)
The monotopic membrane protein alMGS, a glycosyltransferase catalyzing glucolipid synthesis in Acholeplasma laidlawii, was overexpressed in Escherichia coli. Optimization of basic growth parameters was performed, and a novel method for detergent and buffer screening using a small size-exclusion chromatography was developed. This resulted in a tremendous increase in protein yields, as well as the unexpected discovery that the protein induces intracellular vesicle formation in E. coli. This was confirmed by sucrose density separation and Cryo-TEM of membranes, and the properties of the vesicles were analyzed using SDS-PAGE, western blot and lipid composition analysis. It is concluded that both alMGS and alDGS, the next enzyme in glucolipid pathway, have the ability to make the membrane bend and eventually form vesicles. This is likely due to structural and electrostatic properties, such as the way the proteins penetrate the membrane interface and thereby expand one monolayer. The highly positively charged binding surfaces of the glycosyltransferases may bind negatively charged lipids, such as Phosphatidylglycerol (PG), in the membrane and withdraw it from the general pool of lipids. This would increase the overall lipid synthesis, since PG is a pace-keeper, and the local concentration of nonbilayer prone lipids, such as Phosphatidylethanolamine, can increase and also induce bending of the membrane. The formation of surplus membrane inside the E. coli cell was used to develop a generic method for overexpression of membrane proteins. A proof-of-principle experiment with a test set of twenty membrane proteins from E. coli resulted in elevated expression levels for about half of the set. Thus, we believe that this method will be a useful tool for overexpression of many membrane proteins. By engineering E. coli mutants with different lipid compositions, fine-tuning membrane properties for different proteins is also possible.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Stockholms universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Chemistry; Biochemistry; Membrane protein; intracellular vesicles; Escherichia coli; glycosyltransferase; overexpression; optimization; detergent; screening; lipid composition; biokemi; Biochemistry

ISBN:978-91-7155-864-0

Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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