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Martins, Gustavo Benevides; Giacomelli, Giacomo; Goldbeck, Oliver; Seibold, Gerd M. and Bramkamp, Marc (2019): Substrate-dependent cluster density dynamics of Corynebacterium glutamicum phosphotransferase system permeases. In: Molecular Microbiology, Vol. 111, No. 5: pp. 1335-1354

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Many bacteria take up carbohydrates by membrane-integral sugar specific phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent carbohydrate:phosphotransferase systems (PTS). Although the PTS is centrally involved in regulation of carbon metabolism in different bacteria, little is known about localization and putative oligomerization of the permease subunits (EII). Here, we analyzed localization of the fructose specific PtsF and the glucose specific PtsG transporters, as well as the general components EI and HPr from Corynebacterium glutamicum using widefield and single molecule localization microscopy. PtsF and PtsG form membrane embedded clusters that localize in a punctate pattern. Size, number and fluorescence of the membrane clusters change upon presence or absence of the transported substrate, and a direct influence of EI and HPr was not observed. In presence of the transport substrate, EII clusters significantly increased in size. Photo-activated localization microscopy data revealed that, in presence of different carbon sources, the number of EII proteins per cluster remains the same, however, the density of these clusters reduces. Our work reveals a simple mechanism for efficient membrane occupancy regulation. Clusters of PTS EII transporters are densely packed in absence of a suitable substrate. In presence of a transported substrate, the EII proteins in individual clusters occupy larger membrane areas.

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