Structures of the Ultra-High-Affinity Protein-Protein Complexes of Pyocins S2 and AP41 and Their Cognate Immunity Proteins from Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Amar Joshi, Rhys Grinter, Inokentijs Josts, Sabrina Chen, Justyna A. Wojdyla, Edward D Lowe, Renata Kaminska, Connor Sharp, Laura C. McCaughey, Aleksander W. Roszak, Richard J. Cogdell, Olwyn Byron, Daniel Walker, Colin Kleanthous

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


How ultra-high-affinity protein-protein interactions retain high specificity is still poorly understood. The interaction between colicin DNase domains and their inhibitory immunity (Im) proteins is an ultra-high-affinity interaction that is essential for the neutralisation of endogenous DNase catalytic activity and for protection against exogenous DNase bacteriocins. The colicin DNase-Im interaction is a model system for the study of high-affinity protein-protein interactions. However, despite the fact that closely related colicin-like bacteriocins are widely produced by Gram-negative bacteria, this interaction has only been studied using colicins from Escherichia coli. In this work, we present the first crystal structures of two pyocin DNase-Im complexes from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, pyocin S2 DNase-ImS2 and pyocin AP41 DNase-ImAP41. These structures represent divergent DNase-Im subfamilies and are important in extending our understanding of protein-protein interactions for this important class of high-affinity protein complex. A key finding of this work is that mutations within the immunity protein binding energy hotspot, helix III, are tolerated by complementary substitutions at the DNase-Immunity protein binding interface. Im helix III is strictly conserved in colicins where an Asp forms polar interactions with the DNase backbone. ImAP41 contains an Asp-to-Gly substitution in helix III and our structures show the role of a co-evolved substitution where Pro in DNase loop 4 occupies the volume vacated and removes the unfulfilled hydrogen bond. We observe the co-evolved mutations in other DNase-Immunity pairs that appear to underpin the split of this family into two distinct groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2852-2866
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • bacteriocin
  • immunity protein
  • P aeruginosa.
  • pyocin AP41
  • pyocin S2

Cite this

Joshi, A., Grinter, R., Josts, I., Chen, S., Wojdyla, J. A., Lowe, E. D., Kaminska, R., Sharp, C., McCaughey, L. C., Roszak, A. W., Cogdell, R. J., Byron, O., Walker, D., & Kleanthous, C. (2015). Structures of the Ultra-High-Affinity Protein-Protein Complexes of Pyocins S2 and AP41 and Their Cognate Immunity Proteins from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Journal of Molecular Biology, 427(17), 2852-2866.