Lactoferrin binding protein B – a bi-functional bacterial receptor protein
Lactoferrin binding protein B (LbpB) is a bi-lobed outer membrane-bound lipoprotein that comprises part of the lactoferrin (Lf) receptor complex in Neisseria meningitidis and other Gram-negative pathogens. Recent studies have demonstrated that LbpB plays a role in protecting the bacteria from cationic antimicrobial peptides due to large regions rich in anionic residues in the C-terminal lobe. Relative to its homolog, transferrin-binding protein B (TbpB), there currently is little evidence for its role in iron acquisition and relatively little structural and biophysical information on its interaction with Lf. In this study, a combination of crosslinking and deuterium exchange coupled to mass spectrometry, information-driven computational docking, bio-layer interferometry, and site-directed mutagenesis was used to probe LbpB:hLf complexes. The formation of a 1:1 complex of iron-loaded Lf and LbpB involves an interaction between the Lf C-lobe and LbpB N-lobe, comparable to TbpB, consistent with a potential role in iron acquisition. The Lf N-lobe is also capable of binding to negatively charged regions of the LbpB C-lobe and possibly other sites such that a variety of higher order complexes are formed. Our results are consistent with LbpB serving dual roles focused primarily on iron acquisition when exposed to limited levels of iron-loaded Lf on the mucosal surface and effectively binding apo Lf when exposed to high levels at sites of inflammation.