Binding Affects the Tertiary and Quaternary Structures of the Shigella Translocator Protein IpaB and its Chaperone IpgC

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Shigella flexneri uses its type III secretion system (T3SS) to promote invasion of human intestinal epithelial cells as the first step in causing shigellosis, a life-threatening form of dysentery. The Shigella type III secretion apparatus (T3SA) consists of a basal body that spans the bacterial envelope and an exposed needle that injects effector proteins into target cells. The nascent Shigella T3SA needle is topped with a pentamer of the needle tip protein invasion plasmid antigen D (IpaD). Bile salts trigger recruitment of the first hydrophobic translocator protein, IpaB, to the tip complex where it senses contact with a host membrane. In the bacterial cytoplasm, IpaB exists in a complex with its chaperone IpgC. Several structures of IpgC have been determined, and we recently reported the 2.1 Å crystal structure of the N-terminal domain (IpaB74.224) of IpaB. Like IpgC, the IpaB N-terminal domain exists as a homodimer in solution. We now report that when the two are mixed, these homodimers dissociate and form heterodimers having a nanomolar dissociation constant. This is consistent with the equivalent complexes copurified after they had been co-expressed in Escherichia coli. Fluorescence data presented here also indicate that the N-terminal domain of IpaB possesses two regions that appear to contribute additively to chaperone binding. It is also likely that the N-terminus of IpaB adopts an alternative conformation as a result of chaperone binding. The importance of these findings within the functional context of these proteins is discussed.

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