• A flagellum-specific chaperone facilitates assembly of the core type III export apparatus of the bacterial flagellum.

      Fabiani, Florian D; Renault, Thibaud T; Peters, Britta; Dietsche, Tobias; Gálvez, Eric J C; Guse, Alina; Freier, Karen; Charpentier, Emmanuelle; Strowig, Till; Franz-Wachtel, Mirita; et al. (2017-08)
      Many bacteria move using a complex, self-assembling nanomachine, the bacterial flagellum. Biosynthesis of the flagellum depends on a flagellar-specific type III secretion system (T3SS), a protein export machine homologous to the export machinery of the virulence-associated injectisome. Six cytoplasmic (FliH/I/J/G/M/N) and seven integral-membrane proteins (FlhA/B FliF/O/P/Q/R) form the flagellar basal body and are involved in the transport of flagellar building blocks across the inner membrane in a proton motive force-dependent manner. However, how the large, multi-component transmembrane export gate complex assembles in a coordinated manner remains enigmatic. Specific for most flagellar T3SSs is the presence of FliO, a small bitopic membrane protein with a large cytoplasmic domain. The function of FliO is unknown, but homologs of FliO are found in >80% of all flagellated bacteria. Here, we demonstrate that FliO protects FliP from proteolytic degradation and promotes the formation of a stable FliP-FliR complex required for the assembly of a functional core export apparatus. We further reveal the subcellular localization of FliO by super-resolution microscopy and show that FliO is not part of the assembled flagellar basal body. In summary, our results suggest that FliO functions as a novel, flagellar T3SS-specific chaperone, which facilitates quality control and productive assembly of the core T3SS export machinery.
    • Single molecule super-resolution imaging of proteins in living Salmonella enterica using self-labelling enzymes.

      Barlag, Britta; Beutel, Oliver; Janning, Dennis; Czarniak, Frederik; Richter, Christian P; Kommnick, Carina; Göser, Vera; Kurre, Rainer; Fabiani, Florian; Erhardt, Marc; et al. (2016)
      The investigation of the subcellular localization, dynamics and interaction of proteins and protein complexes in prokaryotes is complicated by the small size of the cells. Super-resolution microscopy (SRM) comprise various new techniques that allow light microscopy with a resolution that can be up to ten-fold higher than conventional light microscopy. Application of SRM techniques to living prokaryotes demands the introduction of suitable fluorescent probes, usually by fusion of proteins of interest to fluorescent proteins with properties compatible to SRM. Here we describe an approach that is based on the genetically encoded self-labelling enzymes HaloTag and SNAP-tag. Proteins of interest are fused to HaloTag or SNAP-tag and cell permeable substrates can be labelled with various SRM-compatible fluorochromes. Fusions of the enzyme tags to subunits of a type I secretion system (T1SS), a T3SS, the flagellar rotor and a transcription factor were generated and analysed in living Salmonella enterica. The new approach is versatile in tagging proteins of interest in bacterial cells and allows to determine the number, relative subcellular localization and dynamics of protein complexes in living cells.