A TonB-dependent transporter is required for secretion of protease PopC across the bacterial outer membrane

Nuria Gómez-Santos, Timo Glatter, Ralf Koebnik, Magdalena Anna Świątek-Połatyńska & Lotte Søgaard-Andersen

TonB-dependent transporters (TBDTs) are ubiquitous outer membrane β-barrel proteins that import nutrients and bacteriocins across the outer membrane in a proton motive force-dependent manner, by directly connecting to the ExbB/ExbD/TonB system in the inner membrane. Here, we show that the TBDT Oar in Myxococcus xanthus is required for secretion of a protein, protease PopC, to the extracellular milieu. PopC accumulates in the periplasm before secretion across the outer membrane, and the proton motive force has a role in secretion to the extracellular milieu. Reconstitution experiments in Escherichia coli demonstrate that secretion of PopC across the outer membrane not only depends on Oar but also on the ExbB/ExbD/TonB system. Our results indicate that TBDTs and the ExbB/ExbD/TonB system may have roles not only in import processes but also in secretion of proteins.

Read the full article in Nature Communications

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