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Sawant, Prachi (2015): Functional characterisation and Mutational analysis of a bacterial dynamin-like protein, DynA. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Biology



Membrane remodeling is a dynamic process that occurs in bacterial cells to facilitate substrate transport and to provide protection to bacteria during environmental stress. In eukaryotic cells, membrane remodeling is carried out by dynamin-like proteins (DLPs). These proteins are involved in diverse membrane-associated functions such as cargo transport via vesicles, cytokinesis, division of cell organelles and resistance to pathogens. DLPs are also conserved in bacterial species; however, their function is still not clearly understood. The genome of B. subtilis contains a gene dynA (ypbR), which encodes a large DLP (136 KDa),DynA, that can tether membranes and induce membrane fusion in vitro. Deletion of dynA in B. subtilis strain 168 fails to produce any observable growth phenotype under standard laboratory conditions. B. subtilis is a soil bacterium and prey to several environmental stress factors to which laboratory strains are normally not exposed. Hence, it was conceivable that DynA might be required when bacteria are exposed to stress. To address this hypothesis, the behavior of DynA was examined under conditions causing membrane-stress, such as exposure to antibiotics and phage infection. A strain lacking dynA showed impaired growth in the presence of sublethal amounts of antibiotics that target the cell membrane and was more sensitive to phage infection compared to wild-type strains. Time-lapse microscopy and fluorescence loss in photobleaching (FLIP) experiments showed that ΔdynA cells have compromised membrane remodeling compared to wild-type strain. In conclusion, all results propose DynA to play a role in protecting the cell membrane under stress conditions. Also, for the first time, it is shown that a bacterial DLP contributes to innate immunity of bacteria. DynA not only has a unique membrane protection function but also distinctive structural features. A single DynA polypeptide contains two dynamin-like subunits, each consisting of a GTPase domain and a dynamin-like stalk region. Both subunits, D1 and D2, share strong intra-molecular cooperativity to facilitate GTPase activity. Here, a combination of mutational analysis and subsequent in vivo and in vitro investigation was applied to further characterise structural assembly and biochemical properties of DynA. Size-exclusion chromatography elucidated that DynA dimerisation requires C-terminal amino acids 591-620. In addition, in vivo localisation, in vitro lipid-binding and GTPase analysis revealed arginine at position 512 of DynA to be a key regulator of GTP hydrolysis as well as lipid-binding. Furthermore, in vivo localisation and bacterial two-hybrid experiments were employed to confirm interaction of DynA with putative interaction partners (YneK, YwpG and YmdA). YneK was found to interact with D1 and YwpG with D1 and D2 individually, whereas YmdA required a full-length DynA (D1+D2) for interaction. Taken together, the results presented here greatly expand on current knowledge regarding functional, biochemical and structural properties of a bacterial dynamin-like protein (BDLP). This thesis not only demonstrates the preserved membrane remodeling function of DLPs in bacteria but also explain their conservation from bacteria to higher-organisms.