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A Highly Expressed High-Molecular-Weight S-Layer Complex of Pelosinus sp. Strain UFO1 Binds Uranium.

  • Author(s): Thorgersen, Michael P
  • Lancaster, W Andrew
  • Rajeev, Lara
  • Ge, Xiaoxuan
  • Vaccaro, Brian J
  • Poole, Farris L
  • Arkin, Adam P
  • Mukhopadhyay, Aindrila
  • Adams, Michael WW
  • et al.

Published Web Location

http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.03044-16
No data is associated with this publication.
Abstract

Cell suspensions of Pelosinus sp. strain UFO1 were previously shown, using spectroscopic analysis, to sequester uranium as U(IV) complexed with carboxyl and phosphoryl group ligands on proteins. The goal of our present study was to characterize the proteins involved in uranium binding. Virtually all of the uranium in UFO1 cells was associated with a heterodimeric protein, which was termed the uranium-binding complex (UBC). The UBC was composed of two S-layer domain proteins encoded by UFO1_4202 and UFO1_4203. Samples of UBC purified from the membrane fraction contained 3.3 U atoms/heterodimer, but significant amounts of phosphate were not detected. The UBC had an estimated molecular mass by gel filtration chromatography of 15 MDa, and it was proposed to contain 150 heterodimers (UFO1_4203 and UFO1_4202) and about 500 uranium atoms. The UBC was also the dominant extracellular protein, but when purified from the growth medium, it contained only 0.3 U atoms/heterodimer. The two genes encoding the UBC were among the most highly expressed genes within the UFO1 genome, and their expressions were unchanged by the presence or absence of uranium. Therefore, the UBC appears to be constitutively expressed and is the first line of defense against uranium, including by secretion into the extracellular medium. Although S-layer proteins were previously shown to bind U(VI), here we showed that U(IV) binds to S-layer proteins, we identified the proteins involved, and we quantitated the amount of uranium bound. IMPORTANCE:Widespread uranium contamination from industrial sources poses hazards to human health and to the environment. Herein, we identified a highly abundant uranium-binding complex (UBC) from Pelosinus sp. strain UFO1. The complex makes up the primary protein component of the S-layer of strain UFO1 and binds 3.3 atoms of U(IV) per heterodimer. While other bacteria have been shown to bind U(VI) on their S-layer, we demonstrate here an example of U(IV) bound by an S-layer complex. The UBC provides a potential tool for the microbiological sequestration of uranium for the cleaning of contaminated environments.

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