Formation of oligomeric rings by XcpQ and PilQ, which are involved in protein transport across the outer membrane of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Mol Microbiol. 1998 Jan;27(1):209-19. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.1998.00677.x.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is able to translocate proteins across both membranes of the cell envelope. Many of these proteins are transported via the type II secretion pathway and adopt their tertiary conformation in the periplasm, which implies the presence of a large transport channel in the outer membrane. The outer membrane protein, XcpQ, which is involved in transport of folded proteins across the outer membrane of P. aeruginosa, was purified as a highly stable homomultimer. Insertion and deletion mutagenesis of xcpQ revealed that the C-terminal part of XcpQ is sufficient for the formation of the multimer. However, linker insertions in the N-terminal part can disturb complex formation completely. Furthermore, complex formation is strictly correlated with lethality, caused by overexpression of xcpQ. Electron microscopic evaluation of the XcpQ multimers revealed large, ring-shaped structures with an apparent central cavity of 95 A. Purified PilQ, a homologue of XcpQ involved in the biogenesis of type IV pili, formed similar structures. However, the apparent cavity formed by PilQ was somewhat smaller, 53 A. The size of this cavity could allow for the transport of intact type IV pili.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology
  • Biological Transport
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry*
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Fimbriae Proteins*
  • Membrane Proteins*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Oligopeptides / physiology
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / genetics
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Oligopeptides
  • XcpQ protein, Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • pilQ protein, bacteria
  • Fimbriae Proteins