Measurement of proton-driven antiport in Escherichia coli

Scarlett R. Holdsworth, Christopher J. Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

290 Downloads (Pure)


Secondary active transport of substrates across the inner membrane is vital to the bacterial cell. Of the secondary active transporter families, the ubiquitous major facilitator superfamily (MFS) is the largest and most functionally diverse (Reddy et al., 2012). Recently, it was reported that the MFS multidrug efflux protein MdtM from Escherichia coli (E. coli) functions physiologically in protection of bacterial cells against bile salts (Paul et al., 2014). The MdtM transporter imparts bile salt resistance to the bacterial cell by coupling the exchange of external protons (H+) to the efflux of bile salts from the cell interior via an antiport reaction. This protocol describes, using fluorometry, how to detect the bile salt/H+ antiport activity of MdtM in inverted membrane vesicles of an antiporter-deficient strain of E. coli TO114 cells by measuring transmembrane ∆pH. This method exploits the changes that occur in the intensity of the fluorescence signal (quenching and dequenching) of the pH-sensitive dye acridine orange in response to changes in [H+] in the vesicular lumen. Due to low levels of endogenous transporter expression that would normally make the contribution of individual transporters such as MdtM to proton-driven antiport difficult to detect, the method typically necessitates that the transporter of interest be overexpressed from a multicopy plasmid. Although the first section of the protocol described here is very specific to the overexpression of MdtM from the pBAD/Myc-His A expression vector, the protocol describing the subsequent measurement of bile salt efflux by MdtM can be readily adapted for measurement of antiport of other substrates by any other antiporter that exchanges protons for countersubstrate.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1278
Number of pages9
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 05 Nov 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Measurement of proton-driven antiport in Escherichia coli'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this