Research ArticleBIOPHYSICS

A hidden state in the turnover of a functioning membrane protein complex

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  20 Mar 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 3, eaau6885
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau6885

Abstract

Most membrane proteins exist in complexes that carry out critical cellular functions and exhibit rich dynamics. The bacterial flagellar motor, a large membrane-spanning ion-driven rotary motor that propels the bacteria to swim, provides a canonical example. Rotation of the motor is driven by multiple torque-generating units (stators). Turnover of the stators has been shown previously, demonstrating the exchange of stator units between the motor and a membrane pool. But the details of the turnover kinetics remain unclear. Here, we directly measured the kinetics of stator turnover in individual motors via analysis of a large dataset of long-term high-resolution recordings of motor speed at high load. We found that the dwell time distribution of the stator units exhibits a multi-exponential shape, suggesting the existence of a hidden state in the turnover of the stators.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text