The Erwinia chrysanthemi oligogalacturonate-specific monomeric porin, KdgM, does not present homology with any porins of known structure. A model of this protein, based on sequence similarity and the amphipathy profile, was constructed. The model depicts a β-barrel composed of 14 antiparallel β-strands. The accuracy of this model was tested by the chemical labelling of cysteine residues introduced by site-directed mutagenesis. The protein has seven surface-exposed loops. They are rather small with the exception of one, loop L6. Deletion of this loop allowed the entry of maltopentaose into the bacteria, a molecule too large to enter through the wild-type KdgM. Loop L6 could fold back into the lumen of the pore and play the role of the constriction loop L3 of general porins. With 14 transmembrane segments, the KdgM porin family could represent the smallest porin characterized to date.
Abbreviations used: LB, Luria–Bertani; PEO-MAB; EZ-LinkTM PEO maleimide-activated biotin.
Present address: Max-Planck-Institut für Terrestrische Mikrobiologie, Karl-von-Frisch-Strasse, 35043 Marburg, Germany.