Influence of Oligomerization State on the Structural Properties of Invasion Plasmid Antigen B (IpaB) from Shigella flexneri in the Presence and Absence of Phospholipid Membranes

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Shigella flexneri causes bacillary dysentery, an important cause of mortality among children in the developing world. Shigella secretes effector proteins via its type III secretion system (T3SS) to promote bacterial uptake into human colonic epithelial cells. The T3SS basal body spans the bacterial cell envelope anchoring a surface‐exposed needle. A pentamer of invasion plasmid antigen D lies at the nascent needle tip and invasion plasmid antigen B (IpaB) is recruited into the needle tip complex on exposure to bile salts. From here, IpaB forms a translocon pore in the host cell membrane. Although the mechanism by which IpaB inserts into the membrane is unknown, it was recently shown that recombinant IpaB can exist as either a monomer or tetramer. Both of these forms of IpaB associate with membranes, however, only the tetramer forms pores in liposomes. To reveal differences between these membrane‐binding events, Cys mutations were introduced throughout IpaB, allowing site‐specific fluorescence labeling. Fluorescence quenching was used to determine the influence of oligomerization and/or membrane association on the accessibility of different IpaB regions to small solutes. The data show that the hydrophobic region of tetrameric IpaB is more accessible to solvent relative to the monomer. The hydrophobic region appears to promote membrane interaction for both forms of IpaB, however, more of the hydrophobic region is protected from solvent for the tetramer after membrane association. Limited proteolysis demonstrated that changes in IpaB's oligomeric state may determine the manner by which it associates with phospholipid membranes and the subsequent outcome of this association. Proteins 2014; 82:3013–3022. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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