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1.  The Ingenious Structure of Central Rotor Apparatus in VoV1; Key for Both Complex Disassembly and Energy Coupling between V1 and Vo 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0119602.
Vacuolar type rotary H+-ATPases (VoV1) couple ATP synthesis/hydrolysis by V1 with proton translocation by Vo via rotation of a central rotor apparatus composed of the V1-DF rotor shaft, a socket-like Vo-C (eukaryotic Vo-d) and the hydrophobic rotor ring. Reconstitution experiments using subcomplexes revealed a weak binding affinity of V1-DF to Vo-C despite the fact that torque needs to be transmitted between V1-DF and Vo-C for the tight energy coupling between V1 and Vo. Mutation of a short helix at the tip of V1-DF caused intramolecular uncoupling of VoV1, suggesting that proper fitting of the short helix of V1-D into the socket of Vo-C is required for tight energy coupling between V1 and Vo. To account for the apparently contradictory properties of the interaction between V1-DF and Vo-C (weak binding affinity but strict requirement for torque transmission), we propose a model in which the relationship between V1-DF and Vo-C corresponds to that between a slotted screwdriver and a head of slotted screw. This model is consistent with our previous result in which the central rotor apparatus is not the major factor for the association of V1 with Vo (Kishikawa and Yokoyama, J Biol Chem. 2012 24597-24603).
PMCID: PMC4355294  PMID: 25756791
2.  Genomic and proteomic characterization of the large Myoviridae bacteriophage ϕTMA of the extreme thermophile Thermus thermophilus 
Bacteriophage  2011;1(3):152-164.
A lytic phage, designated as ϕTMA, was isolated from a Japanese hot spring using Thermus thermophilus HB27 as an indicator strain. Electron microscopic examination showed that ϕTMA had an icosahedral head and a contractile tail. The circular double-stranded DNA sequence of ϕTMA was 151,483 bp in length, and its organization was essentially same as that of ϕYS40 except that the ϕTMA genome contained genes for a pair of transposase and resolvase, and a gene for a serine to asparagine substituted ortholog of the protein involved in the initiation of the ϕYS40 genomic DNA synthesis. The different host specificities of ϕTMA and ϕYS40 could be explained by the sequence differences in the C-terminal regions of their distal tail fiber proteins. The ΔpilA knockout strains of T. thermophilus showed simultaneous loss of sensitivity to their cognate phages, pilus structure, twitching motility and competence for natural transformation, thus suggesting that the phage infection required the intact host pili. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis of the ϕTMA and ϕYS40 genomes revealed that the length of their DNA exceeded 200 kb, indicating that the terminal redundancy is more than 30% of the closed circular form. Proteomic analysis of the ϕTMA virion using a combination of N-terminal sequencing and mass spectrometric analysis of peptide fragments suggested that the maturation of several proteins involved in the phage assembly process was mediated by a trypsin-like protease. The gene order of the phage structural proteins was also discussed.
PMCID: PMC3225780  PMID: 22164349
Thermus thermophilus; myovirus; genomics; antagonistic coevolution; proteomics
3.  Molecular mechanism of energy conservation in polysulfide respiration 
Bacterial polysulfide reductase (PsrABC) is an integral membrane protein complex responsible for quinone coupled reduction of polysulfide, a process important in extreme environments such as deep-sea vents and hot springs. We determined the structure of polysulfide reductase from Thermus thermophilus at 2.4 Å resolution, revealing how the PsrA subunit recognizes and reduces its unique poly anionic substrate. The integral membrane subunit PsrC was characterized using the natural substrate menaquinone-7 and inhibitors, providing a comprehensive representation of a quinone binding site and revealing the presence of a water filled cavity connecting the quinone binding site on the periplasmic side to the cytoplasm. These results suggest that polysulfide reductase could be a key energy-conserving enzyme of the T. thermophilus respiratory chain, utilizing polysulfide as the terminal electron acceptor and pumping protons across the membrane via a previously unknown mechanism.
PMCID: PMC2887006  PMID: 18536726
4.  Recombination-Deficient Mutants of an Extreme Thermophile, Thermus thermophilus 
Recombination-deficient strains of the extreme thermophile Thermus thermophilus have been prepared from a leucine-isoleucine mutant strain (NM6). The availability of such recombination-deficient thermophilic bacterial strains may provide especially good hosts for work with plasmid vectors.
PMCID: PMC182350  PMID: 16349029
5.  Imaging live cell in micro-liquid enclosure by X-ray laser diffraction 
Nature Communications  2014;5:3052.
Emerging X-ray free-electron lasers with femtosecond pulse duration enable single-shot snapshot imaging almost free from sample damage by outrunning major radiation damage processes. In bioimaging, it is essential to keep the sample close to its natural state. Conventional high-resolution imaging, however, suffers from severe radiation damage that hinders live cell imaging. Here we present a method for capturing snapshots of live cells kept in a micro-liquid enclosure array by X-ray laser diffraction. We place living Microbacterium lacticum cells in an enclosure array and successively expose each enclosure to a single X-ray laser pulse from the SPring-8 Angstrom Compact Free-Electron Laser. The enclosure itself works as a guard slit and allows us to record a coherent diffraction pattern from a weakly-scattering submicrometre-sized cell with a clear fringe extending up to a 28-nm full-period resolution. The reconstructed image reveals living whole-cell structures without any staining, which helps advance understanding of intracellular phenomena.
Live cell imaging at high resolution is very challenging because cells die upon prolonged radiation exposure. Kimura et al. overcome this problem by using pulsed coherent X-ray diffraction to image live microbacterium in a nanofabricated liquid enclosure at resolution far exceeding optical methods.
PMCID: PMC3896756  PMID: 24394916

Results 1-5 (5)