Phospholipid-assisted protein folding: phosphatidylethanolamine is required at a late step of the conformational maturation of the polytopic membrane protein lactose permease.
The conformationally sensitive epitope for monoclonal antibody (mAb) 4B1, which uncouples lactose from H+ translocation in the lactose permease of Escherichia coli, is localized in the periplasmic loop between helices VII and VIII (loop VII/VIII) on one face of a short helical segment (Sun J, et al., 1996, Biochemistry 35;990-998). Comparison of sequences in the region corresponding to loop VII/VIII in members of Cluster 5 of the Major Facilitator Superfamily (MFS), which includes five homologous oligosaccharide/H+ symporters, reveals interesting variations. 4B1 binds to the Citrobacter freundii lactose permease or E. coli raffinose permease with resultant inhibition of transport activity. Because E. coli raffinose permease contains a Pro residue at position 254 rather than Gly, it is unlikely that the mAb recognizes the peptide backbone at this position. Consistently, E. coli lactose permease with Pro in place of Gly254 also binds 4B1. In contrast, 4B1 binding is not observed with either Klebsiella pneumoniae lactose permease or E. coli sucrose permease. When the epitope is transferred from E. coli lactose permease (residues 245-259) to the sucrose permease, the modified protein binds 4B1, but the mAb has no significant effect on sucrose transport. The studies provide further evidence that the 4B1 epitope is restricted to loop VII/VIII, and that 4B1 binding induces a highly specific conformational change that uncouples substrate and H+ translocation.