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Bracher, Susanne; Hilger, Daniel; Guerin, Kamila; Polyhach, Yevhen; Jeschke, Gunnar; Krafczyk, Ralph; Giacomelli, Giacomo and Jung, Heinrich (2019): Comparison of the functional properties of trimeric and monomeric CaiT of Escherichia coli. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 9, 3787 [PDF, 3MB]


Secondary transporters exist as monomers, dimers or higher state oligomers. The significance of the oligomeric state is only partially understood. Here, the significance of the trimeric state of the L-carnitine/gamma-butyrobetaine antiporter CaiT of Escherichia coli was investigated. Amino acids important for trimer stability were identified and experimentally verified. Among others, CaiT-D288A and -D288R proved to be mostly monomeric in detergent solution and after reconstitution into proteoliposomes, as shown by blue native gel electrophoresis, gel filtration, and determination of intermolecular distances. CaiT-D288A was fully functional with kinetic parameters similar to the trimeric wild-type. Significant differences in amount and stability in the cell membrane between monomeric and trimeric CaiT were not observed. Contrary to trimeric CaiT, addition of substrate had no or only a minor effect on the tryptophan fluorescence of monomeric CaiT. The results suggest that physical contacts between protomers are important for the substrate-induced changes in protein fluorescence and the underlying conformational alterations.

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