The SdpI family consists of putative bacterial toxin immunity and signal transduction proteins. One member of the family in Bacillus subtilis, SdpI, provides immunity to cells from cannibalism in times of nutrient limitation. SdpI family members are transmembrane proteins with 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 12 putative transmembrane α-helical segments (TMSs). These varied topologies appear to be genuine rather than artifacts due to sequencing or annotation errors. The basic and most frequently occurring element of the SdpI family has 6 TMSs. Homologues of all topological types were aligned to determine the homologous TMSs and loop regions, and the positive-inside rule was used to determine sidedness. The two most conserved motifs were identified between TMSs 1 and 2 and TMSs 4 and 5 of the 6 TMS proteins. These showed significant sequence similarity, leading us to suggest that the primordial precursor of these proteins was a 3 TMS–encoding genetic element that underwent intragenic duplication. Various deletional and fusional events, as well as intragenic duplications and inversions, may have yielded SdpI homologues with topologies of varying numbers and positions of TMSs. We propose a specific evolutionary pathway that could have given rise to these distantly related bacterial immunity proteins. We further show that genes encoding SdpI homologues often appear in operons with genes for homologues of SdpR, SdpI’s autorepressor. Our analyses allow us to propose structure–function relationships that may be applicable to most family members.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 19, 2010
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