Although TroA (Tromp1) was initially reported to be a Treponema pallidum outer membrane protein with porin-like properties, subsequent studies have suggested that it actually is a periplasmic substrate-binding protein involved in the transport of metals across the treponemal cytoplasmic membrane. Here we conducted additional physicochemical studies to address the divergent viewpoints concerning this protein. Triton X-114 phase partitioning of recombinant TroA constructs with or without a signal sequence corroborated our prior contention that the native protein's amphiphilic behavior is due to its uncleaved leader peptide. Whereas typical porins are trimers with extensive β-barrel structure, size exclusion chromatography and circular dichroism spectroscopy revealed that TroA was a monomer and predominantly alpha-helical. Neutron activation, atomic absorption spectroscopy, and anomalous X-ray scattering all demonstrated that TroA binds zinc in a 1:1 molar stoichiometric ratio. TroA does not appear to possess structural features consistent with those of bacterial porins.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology