Lien vers Pubmed [PMID] – 38184686
Lien vers HAL – hal-04378918
Lien DOI – 10.1038/s41467-023-44606-z
Nat Commun 2024 Jan; 15(1): 331
Active nutrient uptake is fundamental for survival and pathogenicity of Gram-negative bacteria, which operate a multi-protein Ton system to transport essential nutrients like metals and vitamins. This system harnesses the proton motive force at the inner membrane to energize the import through the outer membrane, but the mechanism of energy transfer remains enigmatic. Here, we study the periplasmic domain of ExbD, a crucial component of the proton channel of the Ton system. We show that this domain is a dynamic dimer switching between two conformations representing the proton channel’s open and closed states. By in vivo phenotypic assays we demonstrate that this conformational switch is essential for the nutrient uptake by bacteria. The open state of ExbD triggers a disorder to order transition of TonB, enabling TonB to supply energy to the nutrient transporter. We also reveal the anchoring role of the peptidoglycan layer in this mechanism. Herein, we propose a mechanistic model for the Ton system, emphasizing ExbD duality and the pivotal catalytic role of peptidoglycan. Sequence analysis suggests that this mechanism is conserved in other systems energizing gliding motility and membrane integrity. Our study fills important gaps in understanding bacterial motor mechanism and proposes novel antibacterial strategies.