Studies on membrane protein folding have focused on monomeric α-helical proteins and a major challenge is to extend this work to larger oligomeric membrane proteins. Here, we study the Escherichia coli (E. coli) ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter that imports vitamin B12 (the BtuCD protein) and use it as a model system for investigating the folding and assembly of a tetrameric membrane protein complex. Our work takes advantage of the modular organization of BtuCD, which consists of two transmembrane protein subunits, BtuC, and two cytoplasmically located nucleotide-binding protein subunits, BtuD. We show that the BtuCD transporter can be re-assembled from both prefolded and partly unfolded, urea denatured BtuC and BtuD subunits. The in vitro re-assembly leads to a BtuCD complex with the correct, native, BtuC and BtuD subunit stoichiometry. The highest rates of ATP hydrolysis were achieved for BtuCD re-assembled from partly unfolded subunits. This supports the idea of cooperative folding and assembly of the constituent protein subunits of the BtuCD transporter. BtuCD folding also provides an opportunity to investigate how a protein that contains both membrane-bound and aqueous subunits coordinates the folding requirements of the hydrophobic and hydrophilic subunits.
|Translated title of the contribution||In Vitro folding and assembly of the Escherichia coli ATP-binding Cassette Transporter, BtuCD|
|Pages (from-to)||18807 - 18815|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Biological Chemistry|
|Publication status||Published - May 2011|