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Sanchez-Vasquez, Lorenzo; Vazquez-Acevedo, Miriam; de la Mora, Javier; Vega-deLuna, Felix; Cardol, Pierre; Remacle, Claire; Dreyfus, Georges; Gonzalez-Halphen, Diego (2017)

NEAR-NEIGHBOR INTERACTIONS OF THE MEMBRANE-EMBEDDED SUBUNITS OF THE MITOCHONDRIAL ATP SYNTHASE OF A CHLOROPHYCEAN ALGA

Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1858(7):497-509
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Mitochondrial F1FO-ATP synthase of the chlorophycean algae Polytomella sp. can be isolated as a highly stable dimeric complex of 1600kDa. It is composed of eight highly conserved orthodox subunits (α, β, γ, δ, ε, OSCP, a, and c) and nine subunits (Asa1-9) that are exclusive of chlorophycean algae. The Asa subunits replace those that build up the peripheral stalk and the dimerization domains of the ATP synthase in other organisms. Little is known about the disposition of subunits Asa6, Asa8 and Asa9, that are predicted to have transmembrane stretches and that along with subunit a and a ring of c-subunits, seem to constitute the membrane-embedded Fo domain of the algal ATP synthase. Here, we over-expressed and purified the three Asa hydrophobic subunits and explored their interactions in vitro using a combination of immunochemical techniques, affinity chromatography, and an in vivo yeast-two hybrid assays. The results obtained suggest the following interactions Asa6-Asa6, Asa6-Asa8, Asa6-Asa9, Asa8-Asa8 and Asa8-Asa9. Cross-linking experiments carried out with the intact enzyme corroborated some of these interactions. Based on these results, we propose a model of the disposition of these hydrophobic subunits in the membrane-embedded sector of the algal ATP synthase. We also propose based on sequence analysis and hydrophobicity plots, that the algal subunit a is atypical in as much it lacks the first transmembrane stretch, exhibiting only four hydrophobic, tilted alpha helices.