The archaellum is the macromolecular machinery that archaea use for propulsion or surface adhesion, enabling them to proliferate and invade new territories. The molecular composition of the archaellum and of the motor that drives it appears to be entirely distinct from that of the functionally equivalent bacterial flagellum and flagellar motor. Yet, the structure of the archaellum machinery is scarcely known. Using combined modes of electron cryo-microscopy (cryoEM), we have solved the structure of the Pyrococcus furiosus archaellum filament at 4.2 Å resolution and visualise the architecture and organisation of its motor complex in situ. This allows us to build a structural model combining the archaellum and its motor complex, paving the way to a molecular understanding of archaeal swimming motion.
- Janet Vonck
- Werner Kühlbrandt
- Paushali Chaudhury
- Sonja V Albers
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Edward H Egelman, University of Virginia, United States
© 2017, Daum et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
RecA protein mediates homologous recombination repair in bacteria through assembly of long helical filaments on ssDNA in an ATP-dependent manner. RecX, an important negative regulator of RecA, is known to inhibit RecA activity by stimulating the disassembly of RecA nucleoprotein filaments. Here we use a single-molecule approach to address the regulation of (Escherichia coli) RecA-ssDNA filaments by RecX (E. coli) within the framework of distinct conformational states of RecA-ssDNA filament. Our findings revealed that RecX effectively binds the inactive conformation of RecA-ssDNA filaments and slows down the transition to the active state. Results of this work provide new mechanistic insights into the RecX-RecA interactions and highlight the importance of conformational transitions of RecA filaments as an additional level of regulation of its biological activity.
Human adult muscle-type acetylcholine receptors are heteropentameric ion channels formed from two α-subunits, and one each of the β-, d-, and e-subunits. To form functional channels, the subunits must assemble with one another in a precise stoichiometry and arrangement. Despite being different, the four subunits share a common ancestor that is presumed to have formed homopentamers. The extent to which the properties of the modern-day receptor result from its subunit complexity is unknown. Here we discover that a reconstructed ancestral muscle-type β-subunit can form homopentameric ion channels. These homopentamers open spontaneously and display single-channel hallmarks of muscle-type acetylcholine receptor activity. Our findings attest to the homopentameric origin of the muscle-type acetylcholine receptor, and demonstrate that signature features of its function are both independent of agonist and do not necessitate the complex heteropentameric architecture of the modern-day protein.