Xiangxue Guo

Date of Award


Degree Type

Closed Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Phang C. Tai - Chair

Second Advisor

Robert W. Harrison - Co-Chair

Third Advisor

Ivene T. Weber


Cytoplasmic membrane proteins CvaB and CvaA and the outer membrane protein TolC form the bacteriocin colicin V (ColV) secretion system in Escherichia coli. CvaB functions as an ATP-binding cassette transporter with nucleotide-binding motifs in the C-terminal domain (CTD). To study the role of CvaB-CTD in the ColV secretion, a truncated construct of this domain was made and over-expressed. Different forms of CvaB-CTD were obtained during purification, and were identified as monomer, dimer, and oligomer on gel filtration. Nucleotide binding was shown critical for the CvaB-CTD dimerization: oligomers could be converted into dimers by nucleotide bindings; the removal of nucleotide from dimers resulted in transient monomers followed by CTD oligomerization and aggregation; no dimer form could be cross-linked from the nucleotide-binding deficient mutant D654H. The spatial proximity of the Walker A site and ABC signature motif in CTD dimer was identified through disulfide cross-linking of mixed CvaB-CTD with mutants A530C and L630C, while mutations did not dimerize individually. Those results indicated that the CvaB-CTD formed a nucleotide-dependent head-to-tail dimer. Molecular basis of differential nucleotide bindings was also studied through bioinformatics prediction and biochemical verification. Through sequence alignment and homology modeling with bound ATP or GTP, it was found that the Ser503 and Gln504 on aromatic stacking region (Y501DSQ-loop) of CvaB-CTD provided two additional hydrogen-bonds to GTP, but not to ATP. Site-directed mutations of the S503A and/or Q504L were designed based on the model. While site-directed mutagenesis studies of Walker A&B sites or the ABC signature motif affected little on the GTP-binding preference, the double mutation (S503A/Q504L) on the Y501DSQ-loop increased both ATP-binding and ATPase activity at low temperatures. The double mutant showed slight decrease of GTP-binding and about 10-fold increase of the ATP/GTP-binding ratio. Similar temperature sensitivity in nucleotide-binding and activity assays were identified in the double mutant at the same time. Mutations on the Y501DSQ-loop did not affect the ColV secretion level in vivo. Together, the Y501DSQ-loop is structurally involved in the differential binding of GTP over ATP.