Probing the Dynamics of AcrB through Disulfide Bond Formation

Prasangi Rajapaksha, Ankit Pandeya, Yinan Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The resistant-nodulation-division (RND) superfamily member tripartite AcrA-AcrB-TolC efflux pump is a major contributor to the multidrug resistance in Escherichia coli. AcrB is the inner membrane protein of the efflux complex and is responsible for the recognition and binding of compounds before their transportation out of the cell. Understanding the dynamics of AcrB during functional rotation in the process of drug efflux is the focus of this study. For this purpose, we introduced six inter-subunit disulfide bonds into the periplasmic domain of AcrB using site-directed mutagenesis to study the importance of the relative flexibility at the inter-subunit interface. Western blot analysis revealed the formation of disulfide bond-linked AcrB oligomers, which were reduced into monomers under reducing conditions. The impact of mutation and formation of disulfide bond on efflux were evaluated via comparison of the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of an acrB knockout strain expressing different mutants. The double Cys mutants tested led to equal or higher susceptibility to AcrB substrates compared to their corresponding single mutants. To determine if the reduction of activity in a double mutant is due to restriction on conformational changes by the disulfide bond formation, ethidium bromide accumulation assays were conducted utilizing dithiothreitol (DTT) as the reducing agent. In two cases, the activities of the double Cys mutants were partially restored by DTT reduction, confirming the importance of relative movement in the respective location for function. These findings provide new insights into the dynamics of the AcrAB-TolC efflux pump in E. coli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21844-21852
Number of pages9
JournalACS Omega
Issue number34
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

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Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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