Gordonia jacobaea is a bacterium belonging to the mycolata group characterized by its ability to produce carotenoids. Mycolic acids in the cell wall contribute to reducing the permeability of their envelopes requiring the presence of channel-forming proteins to allow the exchange of hydrophilic molecules with the surrounding medium. Identification and purification of the channel-forming proteins was accomplished by SDS-PAGE, Mass spectrometry and Mass peptide fingerprinting and the channel-forming activity was studied by reconstitution in lipid bilayers. Here, we describe for the first time the presence of a cell-wall protein from G. jacobaea with channel-forming activity. Our results suggest that this protein bears a low similarity to other hypothetical proteins from the genus Gordonia of uncharacterized functions. The channel has an average single-channel conductance of 800 pS in 1 M KCl, is moderately anion-selective, and does not show any voltage dependence for voltages between +100 and -100 mV. The channel characteristics suggest that this protein could be of relevance in the import and export of negatively charged molecules across the cell wall. This could contribute to design treatments for mycobacterial infections, as well as being of interest in biotechnology applications.
Keywords: Gordonia; mycolata; porin; single-channel conductance.