Date of this Version
1996 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Four colicin A double-cysteine mutants possessing a disulfide bond in their pore-forming domain were constructed to study the translocation and the pore formation of colicin A. The disulfide bonds connected a-helices 1 and 2, 2 and 10, 3 and 9, or 3 and 10 of the poreforming domain. The disulfide bonds did not prevent the colicin A translocation through the Escherichia coli envelope. However, the mutated colicins were able to exert their in vivo channel activity only after reduction of their disulfide bonds. In vitro studies with brominated phospholipid vesicles and planar lipid bilayers revealed that the disulfide bond that connects the a-helices 2 and 10 prevented the colicin A membrane insertion, whereas the other double-cysteine mutants inserted into lipid vesicles. The disulfide bonds that connect either the a-helices 1 and 2 or 3 and 10 were unable to prevent the formation of a conducting channel in presence of membrane potential. These results indicate that a-helices 1, 2, 3, and 10 remain at the membrane surface after application of a membrane potential.