Nucleoside diphosphate kinase (Ndk) is a ubiquitous enzyme which functions in balancing the nucleotide pool of the cell. We have recently reported that in addition to being intracellular in both mucoid and nonmucoid Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Ndk is also secreted into the extracellular environment by mucoid P. aeruginosa cells. This secreted Ndk has biochemical activity similar to the intracellular Ndk and is 16 kDa in size. To demonstrate that Ndk is indeed secreted and to localize the secretion motif, we constructed an ndk knockout mutant, which lacks both intracellular and extracellular forms of Ndk. In this study, we report the construction of deletion derivatives made from the carboxy-terminal region of Ndk. These deletion derivatives were introduced into the ndk::Cm knockout mutant and were examined for the intracellular and extracellular presence of Ndk. It was observed that the carboxy-terminal 8-amino-acid region is required for the secretion of Ndk into the extracellular region. This region has the sequence DXXX, where X is a predominantly hydrophobic residue. Such sequences represent a conserved motif in proteins secreted by the type I secretory pathway in gram-negative microorganisms. To investigate the significance of this motif in the secretion of Ndk, we constructed a fusion protein of Ndk and the blue fluorescent protein (BFP) as well as a fusion protein of mutated Ndk (whose DTEV motif has been changed to AAAA) and the BFP. The presence of extracellular Ndk was detected only in the ndk::Cm knockout mutant harboring the wild-type BFP-Ndk protein fusion. We could not detect the presence of extracellular Ndk in the ndk::Cm knockout mutant containing the mutated BFP-Ndk protein fusion. In addition, we have also used immunofluorescence microscopy to localize the wild-type and mutated BFP-Ndk proteins in the cell. The significance of these observations is discussed
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