Abdul Halim MF, Zou J, Frisch A, Pfeiffer F, Haft D, Wu S, Tolić N, Brewer H, Payne SH, Pasa-Tolic L, Pohlschroder M
Haloferax Volcanii Archaeosortase Is Required for Motility, Mating, and C-terminal Processing of the S-layer Glycoprotein.
Molecular Microbiology. 2013 May 08;
Cell surfaces are decorated by a variety of proteins that facilitate interactions with their environments and support cell stability. These secreted proteins are anchored to the cell by mechanisms that are diverse, and, in archaea, poorly understood. Recently published in silico data suggest that in some species a subset of secreted euryarchaeal proteins, which includes the S-layer glycoprotein, is processed and covalently linked to the cell membrane by enzymes referred to as archaeosortases. In silico work led to the proposal that an independent, sortase-like system for proteolysis-coupled, carboxy-terminal lipid modification exists in bacteria (exosortase) and archaea (archaeosortase). Here, we provide the first in vivo characterization of an archaeosortase in the haloarchaeal model organism Haloferax volcanii. Deletion of the artA gene (HVO_0915) resulted in multiple biological phenotypes: (a) poor growth, especially under low-salt conditions, (b) alterations in cell shape and the S-layer, (c) impaired motility, suppressors of which still exhibit poor growth, and (d) impaired conjugation. We studied one of the ArtA substrates, the S-layer glycoprotein, using detailed proteomic analysis. While the carboxy-terminal region of S-layer glycoproteins, consisting of a threonine-rich O-glycosylated region followed by a hydrophobic transmembrane helix, has been notoriously resistant to any proteomic peptide identification, we were able to identify two overlapping peptides from the transmembrane domain present in the ΔartA strain but not in the wild-type strain. This clearly shows that ArtA is involved in carboxy-terminal posttranslational processing of the S-layer glycoprotein. As it is known from previous studies that a lipid is covalently attached to the carboxy-terminal region of the S-layer glycoprotein, our data strongly support the conclusion that archaeosortase functions analogously to sortase, mediating proteolysis-coupled, covalent cell surface attachment.