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The nodulation-signalling protein NodO from Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae forms ion channels in membranes

Sutton, J.M., Lea, E.J.A., Downie, J.A.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 1994 v.91 no.21 pp. 9990-9994
Rhizobium leguminosarum, bacterial proteins, calcium-binding proteins, ion transport, lipid bilayers
The secreted nodulation-signaling protein NodO was purified from the supernatant of cultures of Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae. The native protein has a Mr of approximately 67,000, suggesting that it exists as a dimer since the DNA sequence predicts a Mr of 30,002. Pure NodO protein had no protease, pectinase, or cellulase activity, and no binding was observed to lipooligosaccharide nodulation factors. Although NodO is relatively hydrophilic, it appeared to insert into liposomes and was protected by liposomes from proteolytic cleavage. When added to planar lipid bilayers, NodO formed cation-selective channels that allowed the movement of monovalent cations (K+ and Na+) across the membrane. NodO is a Ca2+-binding protein; in the presence of high concentrations of Ca2+, channel activity was reduced. We hypothesize that NodO plays a role in nodulation signaling by stimulating uptake of nodulation factors or by forming cation-specific channels that function synergistically with the proposed lipooligosaccharide-induced depolarization of the plasma membrane of leguminous plants.