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Structural and functional studies of the repressor protein PhoU in phosphate signalling and uptake in Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri .

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Pâmela de Oliveira Pena
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB/SDI)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Andrea Balan Fernandes; Marilis do Valle Marques; Cristina Elisa Alvarez Martinez; Patrick Jack Spencer
Advisor: Andrea Balan Fernandes

The ability to sensor the extracellular environment and respond to its changes is inherent to most bacteria. Nutrient concentrations direct metabolic processes related to survival and proliferation. Inorganic phosphate (Pi) is one of the nutrients whose regulation, sensing and signalling are quite preserved in bacteria. One of the mechanisms for phosphate ion uptake with high affinity is the Pst system, composed by an ABC transporter (ATP-Binding Cassette), located on the inner membrane of the cells. This transporter, along with the PhoR/PhoB proteins, which form a Two Component Regulatory System, are capable of sensing and monitoring the levels of phosphate in cells. Both systems belong to the called regulon Pho, set of genes involved in phosphate transport, uptake and metabolism. Studies have shown that the interaction between the Pst system and the two component PhoR/PhoB system is mediated by the PhoU protein, a negative regulator, whose gene is located in the same operon of Pst system. Although much studied in Escherichia coli , there are few information about of these systems in Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri , the major causative of citric canker. Studies conducted by our group showed that X. citri conserves most of the genes described as belonging to regulon Pho, including the Pst system, the proteins PhoR/PhoB and PhoU. This work, therefore, aimed at performing functional and structural characterization of the X. citri PhoU protein and analyzing the possible interaction of PhoU with the PhoR protein, the histidine kinase of the Two Component System. For this, the proteins were expressed in E. coli Tuner strains and purified by metal affinity chromatography, followed by size exclusion chromatography. Aiming at the biophysical and structural characterization of the PhoU protein, we performed circular dichroism, crystallization, bioinformatics and molecular modeling. The results of bioinformatics showed that PhoU retains structural and functional characteristics when compared with orthologs. After purification, the protein was produced in its folded form and showed interaction with ligands, as described in the literature for orthologs. Expression of the PhoR protein was also obtained and Pull Down assays were performed for the characterization of the interaction between PhoUPhoR. In addition, protein expression studies were carried out under different culture conditions using polyclonal anti-PhoU and anti-PhoR antibodies. The results presented in this project are of great importance, once the standardization of the production processes of both proteins has been obtained, as well as biophysical and structural information. These information will be important for future characterization of the complex, which will be of great relevance for the understanding of the role of these systems in the physiology of bacteria. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 15/18712-2 - Functional and structural studies of the repressor protein PhoU in the phosphate transport signalling in Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. citri
Grantee:Pamela de Oliveira Pena
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Master