Disrupting coupling within mycobacterial F-ATP synthases subunit ε causes dysregulated energy production and cell wall biosynthesis

Sci Rep. 2019 Nov 14;9(1):16759. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-53107-3.


The dynamic interaction of the N- and C-terminal domains of mycobacterial F-ATP synthase subunit ε is proposed to contribute to efficient coupling of H+-translocation and ATP synthesis. Here, we investigate crosstalk between both subunit ε domains by introducing chromosomal atpC missense mutations in the C-terminal helix 2 of ε predicted to disrupt inter domain and subunit ε-α crosstalk and therefore coupling. The ε mutant εR105A,R111A,R113A,R115A (ε4A) showed decreased intracellular ATP, slower growth rates and lower molar growth yields on non-fermentable carbon sources. Cellular respiration and metabolism were all accelerated in the mutant strain indicative of dysregulated oxidative phosphorylation. The ε4A mutant exhibited an altered colony morphology and was hypersusceptible to cell wall-acting antimicrobials suggesting defective cell wall biosynthesis. In silico screening identified a novel mycobacterial F-ATP synthase inhibitor disrupting ε's coupling activity demonstrating the potential to advance this regulation as a new area for mycobacterial F-ATP synthase inhibitor development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Wall
  • Computer Simulation
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutation*
  • Mycobacterium / enzymology
  • Mycobacterium / genetics
  • Mycobacterium / growth & development*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / chemistry
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / genetics
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases