The function of the PduJ microcompartment shell protein is determined by the genomic position of its encoding gene.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Mol Microbiol, Volume 101, Issue 5, p.770-83 (2016)


<p>Bacterial microcompartments (MCPs) are complex organelles that consist of metabolic enzymes encapsulated within a protein shell. In this study, we investigate the function of the PduJ MCP shell protein. PduJ is 80% identical in amino acid sequence to PduA and both are major shell proteins of the 1,2-propanediol (1,2-PD) utilization (Pdu) MCP of Salmonella. Prior studies showed that PduA mediates the transport of 1,2-PD (the substrate) into the Pdu MCP. Surprisingly, however, results presented here establish that PduJ has no role 1,2-PD transport. The crystal structure revealed that PduJ was nearly identical to that of PduA and, hence, offered no explanation for their differential functions. Interestingly, however, when a pduJ gene was placed at the pduA chromosomal locus, the PduJ protein acquired a new function, the ability to mediate 1,2-PD transport into the Pdu MCP. To our knowledge, these are the first studies to show that that gene location can determine the function of a MCP shell protein. We propose that gene location dictates protein-protein interactions essential to the function of the MCP shell.</p>