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  • 1. Knopp, Michael
    et al.
    Gudmundsdottir, Jonina S.
    Nilsson, Tobias
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    König, Finja
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Warsi, Omar
    Rajer, Fredrika
    Ädelroth, Pia
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Andersson, Dan I.
    De Novo Emergence of Peptides That Confer Antibiotic Resistance2019In: mBio, ISSN 2161-2129, E-ISSN 2150-7511, Vol. 10, no 3, article id e00837-19Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The origin of novel genes and beneficial functions is of fundamental interest in evolutionary biology. New genes can originate from different mechanisms, including horizontal gene transfer, duplication-divergence, and de novo from non-coding DNA sequences. Comparative genomics has generated strong evidence for de novo emergence of genes in various organisms, but experimental demonstration of this process has been limited to localized randomization in preexisting structural scaffolds. This bypasses the basic requirement of de novo gene emergence, i.e., lack of an ancestral gene. We constructed highly diverse plasmid libraries encoding randomly generated open reading frames and expressed them in Escherichia coli to identify short peptides that could confer a beneficial and selectable phenotype in vivo (in a living cell). Selections on antibiotic-containing agar plates resulted in the identification of three peptides that increased aminoglycoside resistance up to 48-fold. Combining genetic and functional analyses, we show that the peptides are highly hydrophobic, and by inserting into the membrane, they reduce membrane potential, decrease aminoglycoside uptake, and thereby confer high-level resistance. This study demonstrates that randomized DNA sequences can encode peptides that confer selective benefits and illustrates how expression of random sequences could spark the origination of new genes. In addition, our results also show that this question can be addressed experimentally by expression of highly diverse sequence libraries and subsequent selection for specific functions, such as resistance to toxic compounds, the ability to rescue auxotrophic/temperature-sensitive mutants, and growth on normally nonused carbon sources, allowing the exploration of many different phenotypes. IMPORTANCE De novo gene origination from nonfunctional DNA sequences was long assumed to be implausible. However, recent studies have shown that large fractions of genomic noncoding DNA are transcribed and translated, potentially generating new genes. Experimental validation of this process so far has been limited to comparative genomics, in vitro selections, or partial randomizations. Here, we describe selection of novel peptides in vivo using fully random synthetic expression libraries. The peptides confer aminoglycoside resistance by inserting into the bacterial membrane and thereby partly reducing membrane potential and decreasing drug uptake. Our results show that beneficial peptides can be selected from random sequence pools in vivo and support the idea that expression of noncoding sequences could spark the origination of new genes.

  • 2.
    Nilsson, Tobias
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Protein and lipid interactions within the respiratory chain: Studies using membrane-mimetic systems2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Energy conversion from nutrients to ATP is a vital process in cells. The process, called oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) is performed by a combination of membrane-bound proteins. These proteins have been studied in great detail in the past, however much is still unknown about how they interact with each other. Studying the OXPHOS proteins in their native environment can be difficult due to the complexity of living cells. By isolating parts of the OXPHOS system and inserting them into membrane-mimetic systems it is possible to investigate their functions in a controlled environment.

    In the work presented here, we co-reconstituted several of these proteins into liposomes made from synthetic lipids. We demonstrated production of ATP at steady-state conditions with the ATP synthase, driven by proton pumping by cytochrome bo3. Introduction of anionic lipids decreased the coupled activity and we could correlate this effect to weaker interactions between ATP synthase and cytochrome bo3 in the membrane. We also reconstituted cytochrome c oxidase (CytcO) from Saccharomyces cerevisiae with Respiratory supercomplex factor 1 (Rcf1) into liposomes and submitochondrial particles (SMPs). Loss of Rcf1 has previously been found to result in a lower CytcO activity. We found that activity could be restored upon co-reconstitution of CytcO with Rcf1, but only after unfolding and re-folding of the latter, which shows that Rcf1 can adopt two configurations in the membrane.

  • 3.
    Nilsson, Tobias
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Rydström Lundin, Camilla
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Nordlund, Gustav
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Ädelroth, Pia
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    von Ballmoos, Christoph
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. University of Bern, Switzerland.
    Brzezinski, Peter
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Lipid-mediated Protein-protein Interactions Modulate Respiration-driven ATP Synthesis2016In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 6, article id 24113Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Energy conversion in biological systems is underpinned by membrane-bound proton transporters that generate and maintain a proton electrochemical gradient across the membrane which used, e.g. for generation of ATP by the ATP synthase. Here, we have co-reconstituted the proton pump cytochrome bo3 (ubiquinol oxidase) together with ATP synthase in liposomes and studied the effect of changing the lipid composition on the ATP synthesis activity driven by proton pumping. We found that for 100 nm liposomes, containing 5 of each proteins, the ATP synthesis rates decreased significantly with increasing fractions of DOPA, DOPE, DOPG or cardiolipin added to liposomes made of DOPC; with e.g. 5% DOPG, we observed an almost 50% decrease in the ATP synthesis rate. However, upon increasing the average distance between the proton pumps and ATP synthases, the ATP synthesis rate dropped and the lipid dependence of this activity vanished. The data indicate that protons are transferred along the membrane, between cytochrome bo3 and the ATP synthase, but only at sufficiently high protein densities. We also argue that the local protein density may be modulated by lipid-dependent changes in interactions between the two proteins complexes, which points to a mechanism by which the cell may regulate the overall activity of the respiratory chain.

  • 4.
    Nilsson, Tobias
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Schäfer, Jacob
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Zhou, Shu
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Ädelroth, Pia
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Brzezinski, Peter
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Activation of Cytochrome c Oxidase from Saccharomyces cerevisiae by Addition of Respiratory Supercomplex Factor 1Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In S. cerevisiae the transmembrane protein Respiratory Supercomplex Factor 1 (Rcf1) is involved in formation of the cytochrome c oxidase - bc1 supercomplex. It has also been suggested to mediate electron transfer between the two respiratory enzymes via interactions with cytochrome c. Removal of Rcf1 results in decreased CytcO activity as well as a decrease in the fraction of supercomplexes. The Rcf1 protein can presumably be found as both a monomer and dimer in the membrane. A structure of the latter has been determined using NMR. In this study, we show that co-reconstitution of purified Rcf1 with CytcO from a rcf1Δ strain in liposomes yielded an increase in the CytcO activity. Also, reconstitution of Rcf1 in sub-mitochondrial particles from the rcf1Δ strain yielded an increase in the CytcO activity. However, the increased activity was only observed when the Rcf1 protein was fully unfolded and then refolded in the presence of a membrane. Collectively, the data indicate that Rcf1 can be reconstituted in a membrane as a dimer, but the protein can interact with and reactivate CytcO only in the monomeric form.

  • 5.
    Sjöholm, Johannes
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Bergstrand, Jan
    Nilsson, Tobias
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Šachl, Radek
    von Ballmoos, Christoph
    Widengren, Jerker
    Brzezinski, Peter
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    The lateral distance between a proton pump and ATP synthase determines the ATP-synthesis rate2017In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 7, article id 2926Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We have investigated the effect of lipid composition on interactions between cytochrome bo(3) and ATP-synthase, and the ATP-synthesis activity driven by proton pumping. The two proteins were labeled by fluorescent probes and co-reconstituted in large (d congruent to 100 nm) or giant (d congruent to 10 mu m) unilamellar lipid vesicles. Interactions were investigated using fluorescence correlation/cross-correlation spectroscopy and the activity was determined by measuring ATP production, driven by electron-proton transfer, as a function of time. We found that conditions that promoted direct interactions between the two proteins in the membrane (higher fraction DOPC lipids or labeling by hydrophobic molecules) correlated with an increased activity. These data indicate that the ATP-synthesis rate increases with decreasing distance between cytochrome bo3 and the ATP-synthase, and involves proton transfer along the membrane surface. The maximum distance for lateral proton transfer along the surface was found to be similar to 80 nm.

  • 6. von Ballmoos, Christoph
    et al.
    Biner, Olivier
    Nilsson, Tobias
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Brzezinski, Peter
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Mimicking respiratory phosphorylation using purified enzymes2016In: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics, ISSN 0005-2728, E-ISSN 1879-2650, Vol. 1857, no 4, p. 321-331Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The enzymes of oxidative phosphorylation is a striking example of the functional association of multiple enzyme complexes, working together to form ATP from cellular reducing equivalents. These complexes, such as cytochrome c oxidase or the ATP synthase, are typically investigated individually and therefore, their functional interplay is not well understood. Here, we present methodology that allows the co-reconstitution of purified terminal oxidases and ATP synthases in synthetic liposomes. The enzymes are functionally coupled via proton translocation where upon addition of reducing equivalents the oxidase creates and maintains a transmembrane electrochemical proton gradient that energizes the synthesis of ATP by the F1F0 ATP synthase. The method has been tested with the ATP synthases from Escherichia coli and spinach chloroplasts, and with the quinol and cytochrome c oxidases from E. coli and Rhodobacter sphaeroides, respectively. Unlike in experiments with the ATP synthase reconstituted alone, the setup allows in vitro ATP synthesis under steady state conditions, with rates up to 90 ATP x s(-1) x enzyme(-1). We have also used the novel system to study the phenomenon of mild uncoupling as observed in mitochondria upon addition of low concentrations of ionophores (e.g. FCCP, SF6847) and the recoupling effect of 6-ketocholestanol. While we could reproduce the described effects, our data with the in vitro system does not support the idea of a direct interaction between a mitochondrial protein and the uncoupling agents as proposed earlier.

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