Publications by Richard Berry


A multi-mode digital holographic microscope.

The Review of scientific instruments 90 (2019) 023705-

JL Flewellen, IM Zaid, RM Berry

We present a transmission-mode digital holographic microscope that can switch easily between three different imaging modes: inline, dark field off-axis, and bright field off-axis. Our instrument can be used: to track through time in three dimensions microscopic dielectric objects, such as motile micro-organisms; localize brightly scattering nanoparticles, which cannot be seen under conventional bright field illumination; and recover topographic information and measure the refractive index and dry mass of samples via quantitative phase recovery. Holograms are captured on a digital camera capable of high-speed video recording of up to 2000 frames per second. The inline mode of operation can be easily configurable to a large range of magnifications. We demonstrate the efficacy of the inline mode in tracking motile bacteria in three dimensions in a 160 μm × 160 μm × 100 μm volume at 45× magnification. Through the use of a novel physical mask in a conjugate Fourier plane in the imaging path, we use our microscope for high magnification, dark field off-axis holography, demonstrated by localizing 100 nm gold nanoparticles at 225× magnification up to at least 16 μm from the imaging plane. Finally, the bright field off-axis mode facilitates quantitative phase microscopy, which we employ to measure the refractive index of a standard resolution test target and to measure the dry mass of human erythrocytes.


Subunit Exchange in Protein Complexes.

Journal of molecular biology 430 (2018) 4557-4579

SE Tusk, NJ Delalez, RM Berry

Over the past 50 years, protein complexes have been studied with techniques such as X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy, generating images which although detailed are static and homogeneous. More recently, limited application of in vivo fluorescence and other techniques has revealed that many complexes previously thought stable and compositionally uniform are dynamically variable, continually exchanging components with a freely circulating pool of "spares." Here, we consider the purpose and prevalence of protein exchange, first reviewing the ongoing story of exchange in the bacterial flagella motor, before surveying reports of exchange in complexes across all domains of life, together highlighting great diversity in timescales and functions. Finally, we put this in the context of high-throughput proteomic studies which hint that exchange might be the norm, rather than an exception.


Imaging of Single Dye-Labeled Chemotaxis Proteins in Live Bacteria Using Electroporation.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 1729 (2018) 233-246

D Di Paolo, RM Berry

For the last 2 decades, the use of genetically fused fluorescent proteins (FPs) has greatly contributed to the study of chemotactic signaling in E. coli, including the activation of the response regulator protein CheY and its interaction with the flagellar motor. However, this approach suffers from a number of limitations, both biological and biophysical. For example, not all fusions are fully functional when fused to a bulky FP, which can have a similar molecular weight to its fused counterpart. FPs may interfere with the native interactions of the protein, and their chromophores have low brightness and photostability, and fast photobleaching rates. Electroporation allows for internalization of purified CheY proteins labeled with organic dyes into E. coli cells in controllable concentrations. Using fluorescence video microscopy, it is possible to observe single CheY molecules diffusing within cells and interacting with the sensory clusters and the flagellar motors in real time.


Detergent-free Ultrafast Reconstitution of Membrane Proteins into Lipid Bilayers Using Fusogenic Complementary-charged Proteoliposomes.

Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE (2018)

MA Galkin, AN Russell, SB Vik, RM Berry, RR Ishmukhametov

Detergents are indispensable for delivery of membrane proteins into 30-100 nm small unilamellar vesicles, while more complex, larger model lipid bilayers are less compatible with detergents. Here we describe a strategy for bypassing this fundamental limitation using fusogenic oppositely charged liposomes bearing a membrane protein of interest. Fusion between such vesicles occurs within 5 min in a low ionic strength buffer. Positively charged fusogenic liposomes can be used as simple shuttle vectors for detergent-free delivery of membrane proteins into biomimetic target lipid bilayers, which are negatively charged. We also show how to reconstitute membrane proteins into fusogenic proteoliposomes with a fast 30-min protocol. Combining these two approaches, we demonstrate a fast assembly of an electron transport chain consisting of two membrane proteins from E. coli, a primary proton pump bo3-oxidase and F1Fo ATP synthase, in membranes of vesicles of various sizes, ranging from 0.1 to >10 microns, as well as ATP production by this chain.


A Catch-Bond Drives Stator Mechanosensitivity in the Bacterial Flagellar Motor

BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL 114 (2018) 372A-372A

AL Nord, E Gachon, R Perez-Carrasco, J Nirody, A Barducci, RM Berry, F Pedaci


Torque Generation in the Bacterial Flagellar Motor

BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL 112 (2017) 30A-30A

JA Nirody, RM Berry, G Oster


Catch bond drives stator mechanosensitivity in the bacterial flagellar motor.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114 (2017) 12952-12957

AL Nord, E Gachon, R Perez-Carrasco, JA Nirody, A Barducci, RM Berry, F Pedaci

The bacterial flagellar motor (BFM) is the rotary motor that rotates each bacterial flagellum, powering the swimming and swarming of many motile bacteria. The torque is provided by stator units, ion motive force-powered ion channels known to assemble and disassemble dynamically in the BFM. This turnover is mechanosensitive, with the number of engaged units dependent on the viscous load experienced by the motor through the flagellum. However, the molecular mechanism driving BFM mechanosensitivity is unknown. Here, we directly measure the kinetics of arrival and departure of the stator units in individual motors via analysis of high-resolution recordings of motor speed, while dynamically varying the load on the motor via external magnetic torque. The kinetic rates obtained, robust with respect to the details of the applied adsorption model, indicate that the lifetime of an assembled stator unit increases when a higher force is applied to its anchoring point in the cell wall. This provides strong evidence that a catch bond (a bond strengthened instead of weakened by force) drives mechanosensitivity of the flagellar motor complex. These results add the BFM to a short, but growing, list of systems demonstrating catch bonds, suggesting that this "molecular strategy" is a widespread mechanism to sense and respond to mechanical stress. We propose that force-enhanced stator adhesion allows the cell to adapt to a heterogeneous environmental viscosity and may ultimately play a role in surface-sensing during swarming and biofilm formation.


A modular platform for one-step assembly of multi-component membrane systems by fusion of charged proteoliposomes.

Nature communications 7 (2016) 13025-

RR Ishmukhametov, AN Russell, RM Berry

An important goal in synthetic biology is the assembly of biomimetic cell-like structures, which combine multiple biological components in synthetic lipid vesicles. A key limiting assembly step is the incorporation of membrane proteins into the lipid bilayer of the vesicles. Here we present a simple method for delivery of membrane proteins into a lipid bilayer within 5 min. Fusogenic proteoliposomes, containing charged lipids and membrane proteins, fuse with oppositely charged bilayers, with no requirement for detergent or fusion-promoting proteins, and deliver large, fragile membrane protein complexes into the target bilayers. We demonstrate the feasibility of our method by assembling a minimal electron transport chain capable of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis, combining Escherichia coli F1Fo ATP-synthase and the primary proton pump bo3-oxidase, into synthetic lipid vesicles with sizes ranging from 100 nm to ∼10 μm. This provides a platform for the combination of multiple sets of membrane protein complexes into cell-like artificial structures.


Single-molecule imaging of electroporated dye-labelled CheY in live Escherichia coli.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences 371 (2016)

D Di Paolo, O Afanzar, JP Armitage, RM Berry

For the past two decades, the use of genetically fused fluorescent proteins (FPs) has greatly contributed to the study of chemotactic signalling in Escherichia coli including the activation of the response regulator protein CheY and its interaction with the flagellar motor. However, this approach suffers from a number of limitations, both biological and biophysical: for example, not all fusions are fully functional when fused to a bulky FP, which can have a similar molecular weight to its fused counterpart; they may interfere with the native interactions of the protein and the chromophores of FPs have low brightness and photostability and fast photobleaching rates. A recently developed technique for the electroporation of fluorescently labelled proteins in live bacteria has enabled us to bypass these limitations and study the in vivo behaviour of CheY at the single-molecule level. Here we show that purified CheY proteins labelled with organic dyes can be internalized into E. coli cells in controllable concentrations and imaged with video fluorescence microscopy. The use of this approach is illustrated by showing single CheY molecules diffusing within cells and interacting with the sensory clusters and the flagellar motors in real time.This article is part of the themed issue 'The new bacteriology'.


The Limiting Speed of the Bacterial Flagellar Motor.

Biophysical journal 111 (2016) 557-564

JA Nirody, RM Berry, G Oster

Recent experiments on the bacterial flagellar motor have shown that the structure of this nanomachine, which drives locomotion in a wide range of bacterial species, is more dynamic than previously believed. Specifically, the number of active torque-generating complexes (stators) was shown to vary across applied loads. This finding brings under scrutiny the experimental evidence reporting that limiting (zero-torque) speed is independent of the number of active stators. In this study, we propose that, contrary to previous assumptions, the maximum speed of the motor increases as additional stators are recruited. This result arises from our assumption that stators disengage from the motor for a significant portion of their mechanochemical cycles at low loads. We show that this assumption is consistent with current experimental evidence in chimeric motors, as well as with the requirement that a processive motor driving a large load via an elastic linkage must have a high duty ratio.


A Simple low-cost device enables four epi-illumination techniques on standard light microscopes

Scientific Reports Nature Publishing Group: Open Access Journals - Option C (2016)

RM Berry, R ishmukhametov, AN Russell, RJ Wheeler, AL Nord


Domain-swap polymerization drives the self-assembly of the bacterial flagellar motor.

Nature structural & molecular biology 23 (2016) 197-203

MAB Baker, RMG Hynson, LA Ganuelas, NS Mohammadi, CW Liew, AA Rey, AP Duff, AE Whitten, CM Jeffries, NJ Delalez, YV Morimoto, D Stock, JP Armitage, AJ Turberfield, K Namba, RM Berry, LK Lee

Large protein complexes assemble spontaneously, yet their subunits do not prematurely form unwanted aggregates. This paradox is epitomized in the bacterial flagellar motor, a sophisticated rotary motor and sensory switch consisting of hundreds of subunits. Here we demonstrate that Escherichia coli FliG, one of the earliest-assembling flagellar motor proteins, forms ordered ring structures via domain-swap polymerization, which in other proteins has been associated with uncontrolled and deleterious protein aggregation. Solution structural data, in combination with in vivo biochemical cross-linking experiments and evolutionary covariance analysis, revealed that FliG exists predominantly as a monomer in solution but only as domain-swapped polymers in assembled flagellar motors. We propose a general structural and thermodynamic model for self-assembly, in which a structural template controls assembly and shapes polymer formation into rings.


Mutations targeting the plug-domain of the Shewanella oneidensis proton-driven stator allow swimming at increased viscosity and under anaerobic conditions.

Molecular microbiology 102 (2016) 925-938

S Brenzinger, L Dewenter, NJ Delalez, O Leicht, V Berndt, A Paulick, RM Berry, M Thanbichler, JP Armitage, B Maier, KM Thormann

Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 possesses two different stator units to drive flagellar rotation, the Na+ -dependent PomAB stator and the H+ -driven MotAB stator, the latter possibly acquired by lateral gene transfer. Although either stator can independently drive swimming through liquid, MotAB-driven motors cannot support efficient motility in structured environments or swimming under anaerobic conditions. Using ΔpomAB cells we isolated spontaneous mutants able to move through soft agar. We show that a mutation that alters the structure of the plug domain in MotB affects motor functions and allows cells to swim through media of increased viscosity and under anaerobic conditions. The number and exchange rates of the mutant stator around the rotor were not significantly different from wild-type stators, suggesting that the number of stators engaged is not the cause of increased swimming efficiency. The swimming speeds of planktonic mutant MotAB-driven cells was reduced, and overexpression of some of these stators caused reduced growth rates, implying that mutant stators not engaged with the rotor allow some proton leakage. The results suggest that the mutations in the MotB plug domain alter the proton interactions with the stator ion channel in a way that both increases torque output and allows swimming at decreased pmf values.


Transient pauses of the bacterial flagellar motor at low load

NEW JOURNAL OF PHYSICS 18 (2016) ARTN 115002

AL Nord, F Pedaci, RM Berry


Rotational Measurements and Manipulations of the Bacterial Flagellar Motor

BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL 110 (2016) 198A-198A

AL Nord, RM Berry, F Pedaci


Imaging of Single Dye-Labeled Chemotaxis Proteins in Live Bacteria Using Electroporation

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Royal Society of London (2016)

RM Berry


A Simple low-cost device enables four epi-illumination techniques on standard light microscopes.

Scientific reports 6 (2016) 20729-

RR Ishmukhametov, AN Russell, RJ Wheeler, AL Nord, RM Berry

Back-scattering darkfield (BSDF), epi-fluorescence (EF), interference reflection contrast (IRC), and darkfield surface reflection (DFSR) are advanced but expensive light microscopy techniques with limited availability. Here we show a simple optical design that combines these four techniques in a simple low-cost miniature epi-illuminator, which inserts into the differential interference-contrast (DIC) slider bay of a commercial microscope, without further additions required. We demonstrate with this device: 1) BSDF-based detection of Malarial parasites inside unstained human erythrocytes; 2) EF imaging with and without dichroic components, including detection of DAPI-stained Leishmania parasite without using excitation or emission filters; 3) RIC of black lipid membranes and other thin films, and 4) DFSR of patterned opaque and transparent surfaces. We believe that our design can expand the functionality of commercial bright field microscopes, provide easy field detection of parasites and be of interest to many users of light microscopy.


Dual stator dynamics in the Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 flagellar motor.

Molecular microbiology 96 (2015) 993-1001

A Paulick, NJ Delalez, S Brenzinger, BC Steel, RM Berry, JP Armitage, KM Thormann

The bacterial flagellar motor is an intricate nanomachine which converts ion gradients into rotational movement. Torque is created by ion-dependent stator complexes which surround the rotor in a ring. Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 expresses two distinct types of stator units: the Na(+)-dependent PomA4 B2 and the H(+)-dependent MotA4 B2. Here, we have explored the stator unit dynamics in the MR-1 flagellar system by using mCherry-labeled PomAB and MotAB units. We observed a total of between 7 and 11 stator units in each flagellar motor. Both types of stator units exchanged between motors and a pool of stator complexes in the membrane, and the exchange rate of MotAB, but not of PomAB, units was dependent on the environmental Na(+)-levels. In 200 mM Na(+), the numbers of PomAB and MotAB units in wild-type motors was determined to be about 7:2 (PomAB:MotAB), shifting to about 6:5 without Na(+). Significantly, the average swimming speed of MR-1 cells at low Na(+) conditions was increased in the presence of MotAB. These data strongly indicate that the S. oneidensis flagellar motors simultaneously use H(+) and Na(+) driven stators in a configuration governed by MotAB incorporation efficiency in response to environmental Na(+) levels.


Comparison between single-molecule and X-ray crystallography data on yeast F1-ATPase.

Scientific reports 5 (2015) 8773-

BC Steel, AL Nord, Y Wang, V Pagadala, DM Mueller, RM Berry

Single molecule studies in recent decades have elucidated the full chemo-mechanical cycle of F1-ATPase, mostly based on F1 from thermophilic bacteria. In contrast, high-resolution crystal structures are only available for mitochondrial F1. Here we present high resolution single molecule rotational data on F1 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, obtained using new high throughput detection and analysis tools. Rotational data are presented for the wild type mitochondrial enzyme, a "liver" isoform, and six mutant forms of yeast F1 that have previously been demonstrated to be less efficient or partially uncoupled. The wild-type and "liver" isoforms show the same qualitative features as F1 from Escherichia coli and thermophilic bacteria. The analysis of the mutant forms revealed a delay at the catalytic dwell and associated decrease in Vmax, with magnitudes consistent with the level of disruption seen in the crystal structures. At least one of the mutant forms shows a previously un-observed dwell at the ATP binding angle, potentially attributable to slowed release of ADP. We discuss the correlation between crystal structures and single molecule results.


Mechanics of torque generation in the bacterial flagellar motor.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112 (2015) E4381-E4389

KK Mandadapu, JA Nirody, RM Berry, G Oster

The bacterial flagellar motor (BFM) is responsible for driving bacterial locomotion and chemotaxis, fundamental processes in pathogenesis and biofilm formation. In the BFM, torque is generated at the interface between transmembrane proteins (stators) and a rotor. It is well established that the passage of ions down a transmembrane gradient through the stator complex provides the energy for torque generation. However, the physics involved in this energy conversion remain poorly understood. Here we propose a mechanically specific model for torque generation in the BFM. In particular, we identify roles for two fundamental forces involved in torque generation: electrostatic and steric. We propose that electrostatic forces serve to position the stator, whereas steric forces comprise the actual "power stroke." Specifically, we propose that ion-induced conformational changes about a proline "hinge" residue in a stator α-helix are directly responsible for generating the power stroke. Our model predictions fit well with recent experiments on a single-stator motor. The proposed model provides a mechanical explanation for several fundamental properties of the flagellar motor, including torque-speed and speed-ion motive force relationships, backstepping, variation in step sizes, and the effects of key mutations in the stator.

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