Differential effects of yfgL mutation on Escherichia coli outer membrane proteins and lipopolysaccharide

Emily S. Charlson, John N. Werner, Rajeev Misra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


YfgL together with NlpB, YfiO, and YaeT form a protein complex to facilitate the insertion of proteins into the outer membrane of Escherichia coli. Without YfgL, the levels of OmpA, OmpF, and LamB are significantly reduced, while OmpC levels are slightly reduced. In contrast, the level of TolC significantly increases in a yfgL mutant. When cells are depleted of YaeT or YfiO, levels of all outer membrane proteins examined, including OmpC and TolC, are severely reduced. Thus, while the assembly pathways of various nonlipoprotein outer membrane proteins may vary through the step involving YfgL, all assembly pathways in Escherichia coli converge at the step involving the YaeT/YfiO complex. The negative effect of yfgL mutation on outer membrane proteins may in part be due to elevated sigma E activity, which has been shown to downregulate the synthesis of various outer membrane proteins while upregulating the synthesis of periplasmic chaperones, foldases, and lipopolysaccharide. The data presented here suggest that the yfgL effect on outer membrane proteins also stems from a defective assembly apparatus, leading to aberrant outer membrane protein assembly, except for TolC, which assembles independent of YfgL. Consistent with this view, the simultaneous absence of YfgL and the major periplasmic protease DegP confers a synthetic lethal phenotype, presumably due to the toxic accumulation of unfolded outer membrane proteins. The results support the hypothesis that TolC and major outer membrane proteins compete for the YaeT/YfiO complex, since mutations that adversely affect synthesis or assembly of major outer membrane proteins lead to elevated TolC levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7186-7194
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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