Hetero-oligomeric MspA pores in Mycobacterium smegmatis

Academic Article


  • © FEMS 2016. The porin MspA of Mycobacterium smegmatis is a biological nanopore used for DNA sequencing. The octameric MspA pore can be isolated from M. smegmatis in milligram quantities, is extremely stable against denaturation and rapidly inserts into lipid membranes. Here, we show that MspA pores composed of different Msp subunits are formed in M. smegmatis and that hetero-oligomers of different Msp monomers increase the heterogeneity of MspA pores designed for DNA sequencing. To improve the quality of preparations of mutant MspA proteins, all four msp genes were deleted from the M. smegmatis genome after insertion of an inducible porin gene from M. tuberculosis. In the msp quadruple mutant M. smegmatis ML712 no Msp porins were detected and mutant MspA proteins were produced at wild-type levels. Lipid bilayer experiments demonstrated that MspA pores isolated from ML712 formed functional channels and had a narrower conductance distribution than pores purified from M. smegmatis with background msp expression. Thus, the M. smegmatis msp quadruple mutant improves the homogeneity of MspA pores designed for DNA sequencing and might also facilitate the identification and functional characterization of other mycobacterial pore proteins.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Pavlenok M; Niederweis M
  • Volume

  • 363
  • Issue

  • 7