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Bach, Juri Niño; Bramkamp, Marc (2015): Dissecting the Molecular Properties of Prokaryotic Flotillins.
In: PLOS ONE 10(1), e0116750


Flotillins are universally conserved proteins that are present in all kingdoms of life. Recently it was demonstrated that the B. subtilis flotillin YuaG (FloT) has a direct influence on membrane domain formation by orchestrating lipid domains. Thereby it allocates a proper environment for diverse cellular machineries. YuaG creates platforms for signal transduction, processes crucial for biofilm formation, sporulation, competence, secretion, and others. Even though, flotillins are an emerging topic of research in the field of microbiology little is known about the molecular architecture of prokaryotic flotillins. All flotillins share common structural elements and are tethered to the membrane N'-terminally, followed by a so called PHB domain and a flotillin domain. We show here that prokaryotic flotillins are, similarly to eukaryotic flotillins, tethered to the membrane via a hairpin loop. Further it is demonstrated by sedimentation assays that B. subtilis flotillins do not bind to the membrane via their PHB domain contrary to eukaryotic flotillins. Size exclusion chromatography experiments, blue native PAGE and cross linking experiments revealed that B. subtilis YuaG can oligomerize into large clusters via the PHB domain. This illustrates an important difference in the setup of prokaryotic flotillins compared to the organization of eukaryotic flotillins.