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Title: Point Mutations in TbpA Abrogate Human Transferrin Binding in Neisseria gonorrhoeae
ABSTRACT TonB-dependent transporters (TDTs) are essential proteins for metal acquisition, an important step in the growth and pathogenesis of many pathogens, including Neisseria gonorrhoeae , the causative agent of gonorrhea. There is currently no available vaccine for gonorrhea; TDTs are being investigated as vaccine candidates because they are highly conserved and expressed in vivo . Transferrin binding protein A (TbpA) is an essential virulence factor in the initiation of experimental infection in human males and functions by acquiring iron upon binding to host transferrin (human transferrin [hTf]). The loop 3 helix (L3H) is a helix finger that inserts into the hTf C-lobe and is required for hTf binding and subsequent iron acquisition. This study identified and characterized the first TbpA single-point substitutions resulting in significantly decreased hTf binding and iron acquisition, suggesting that the helix structure is more important than charge for hTf binding and utilization. The tbpA D355P Δ tbpB and tbpA A356P Δ tbpB mutants demonstrated significantly reduced hTf binding and impaired iron uptake from Fe-loaded hTf; however, only the tbpA A356P Δ tbpB mutant was able to grow when hTf was the sole source of iron. The expression of tbpB was able to restore function in all tbpA mutants. These results implicate both D355 and A356 in the key binding, extraction, and uptake functions of gonococcal TbpA.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1828187 1806833
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Bäumler, Andreas J.
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Infection and Immunity
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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