A variety of electron transfer mechanisms link bacterial cytosolic electron pools with functionally diverse redox activities in the cell envelope and extracellular space. In Listeria monocytogenes, the ApbE-like enzyme FmnB catalyzes extracytosolic protein flavinylation, covalently linking a flavin cofactor to proteins that transfer electrons to extracellular acceptors. L. monocytogenes uses an energy-coupling factor (ECF) transporter complex that contains distinct substrate-binding, transmembrane, ATPase A, and ATPase A9 subunits (RibU, EcfT, EcfA, and EcfA9) to import environmental flavins, but the basis of extracytosolic flavin trafficking for FmnB flavinylation remains poorly defined. In this study, we show that the EetB and FmnA proteins are related to ECF transporter substrate-binding and transmembrane subunits, respectively, and are essential for exporting flavins from the cytosol for flavinylation. Comparisons of the flavin import versus export capabilities of L. monocytogenes strains lacking different ECF transporter subunits demonstrate a strict directionality of substrate-binding subunit transport but partial functional redundancy of transmembrane and ATPase subunits. Based on these results, we propose that ECF transporter complexes with different subunit compositions execute directional flavin import/export through a broadly conserved mechanism. Finally, we present genomic context analyses that show that related ECF exporter genes are distributed across members of the phylum Firmicutes and frequently colocalize with genes encoding flavinylated extracytosolic proteins. These findings clarify the basis of ECF transporter export and extracytosolic flavin cofactor trafficking in Firmicutes.
- cofactor trafficking
- energy-coupling factor transporters
- extracellular electron transfer
ASJC Scopus subject areas