- The twin-arginine translocation (Tat) system serves to translocate folded proteins across energy-transducing membranes in bacteria, archaea, plastids, and some mitochondria. In Escherichia coli, TatA, TatB, and TatC constitute functional translocons. TatA and TatB both possess an N-terminal transmembrane helix (TMH) followed by an amphipathic helix. The TMHs of TatA and TatB generate a hydrophobic mismatch with the membrane, as the helices comprise only 12 consecutive hydrophobic residues; however, the purpose of this mismatch is unclear.
- Fluorescent pseudomonads such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Pseudomonas fluorescens produce pyoverdine siderophores that ensure iron-supply in iron-limited environments. After its synthesis in the cytoplasm, the nonfluorescent pyoverdine precursor ferribactin is exported into the periplasm, where the enzymes PvdQ, PvdP, PvdO, PvdN, and PtaA are responsible for fluorophore maturation and tailoring steps. While the roles of all these enzymes are clear, little is known about the role of PvdM, a human renal dipeptidase–related protein that is predicted to be periplasmic and that is essential for pyoverdine biogenesis.
- The twin-arginine translocation (Tat) system that comprises the TatA, TatB, and TatC components transports folded proteins across energized membranes of prokaryotes and plant plastids. It is not known, however, how the transport of this protein cargo is achieved. Favored models suggest that the TatA component supports transport by weakening the membrane upon full translocon assembly. Using Escherichia coli as a model organism, we now demonstrate in vivo that the N terminus of TatA can indeed destabilize the membrane, resulting in a lowered membrane energization in growing cells.
- Pyoverdines are important siderophores that guarantee iron supply to important pathogenic and non-pathogenic pseudomonads in host habitats. A key characteristic of all pyoverdines is the fluorescent dihydroxyquinoline group that contributes two ligands to the iron complexes. Pyoverdines are derived from the non-ribosomally synthesized peptide ferribactin, and their fluorophore is generated by periplasmic oxidation and cyclization reactions of d-tyrosine and l-diaminobutyric acid. The formation of the fluorophore is known to be driven by the periplasmic tyrosinase PvdP.
- The periplasmic conversion of ferribactin to pyoverdine is essential for siderophore biogenesis in fluorescent pseudomonads, such as pathogenic Pseudomonas aeruginosa or plant growth-promoting Pseudomonas fluorescens. The non-ribosomal peptide ferribactin undergoes cyclizations and oxidations that result in the fluorophore, and a strictly conserved fluorophore-bound glutamic acid residue is converted to a range of variants, including succinamide, succinic acid, and α-ketoglutaric acid residues. We recently discovered that the pyridoxal phosphate-containing enzyme PvdN is responsible for the generation of the succinamide, which can be hydrolyzed to succinic acid.
- Pyoverdines are high affinity siderophores produced by a broad range of pseudomonads to enhance growth under iron deficiency. They are especially relevant for pathogenic and mutualistic strains that inhabit iron-limited environments. Pyoverdines are generated from non-ribosomally synthesized highly modified peptides. They all contain an aromatic chromophore that is formed in the periplasm by intramolecular cyclization steps. Although the cytoplasmic peptide synthesis and side-chain modifications are well characterized, the periplasmic maturation steps are far from understood.