Domains of colicin M involved in uptake and activity

Mol Gen Genet. 1993 Jul;240(1):103-12. doi: 10.1007/BF00276889.


Colicin M inhibits murein biosynthesis by interfering with bactoprenyl phosphate carrier regeneration. It belongs to the group B colicins the uptake of which through the outer membrane depends on the TonB, ExbB and ExbD proteins. These colicins contain a sequence, called the TonB box, which has been implicated in transport via TonB. Point mutations were introduced by PCR into the TonB box of the structural gene for colicin M, cma, resulting in derivatives that no longer killed cells. Mutations in the tonB gene suppressed, in an allele-specific manner, some of the cma mutations, suggesting that interaction of colicin M with TonB may be required for colicin M uptake. Among the hydroxylamine-generated colicin M-inactive cma mutants was one which carried cysteine in place of arginine at position 115. This colicin derivative still bound to the FhuA receptor and killed cells when translocated across the outer membrane by osmotic shock treatment. It apparently represents a new type of transport-deficient colicin M. Additional hydroxylamine-generated inactive derivatives of colicin M carried mutations centered on residues 193-197 and 223-252. Since these did not kill osmotically shocked cells the mutations must be located in a region which is important for colicin M activity. It is concluded that the TonB box at the N-terminal end of colicin M must be involved in colicin uptake via TonB across the outer membrane and that the C-terminal portion of the molecule is likely to contain the activity domain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Base Sequence
  • Colicins / chemistry
  • Colicins / genetics
  • Colicins / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics
  • Genes, Bacterial / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Mutation / physiology*
  • Osmotic Pressure
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Receptors, Cell Surface*
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Colicins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • FhuA protein, E coli
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Virus
  • colicin receptor, E coli