The VapC–tRNA Complex
VapC is a bacterial toxin protein from the Vapc-VapB toxin antitoxin system. When associated with VapB, VapC is neutralized as a toxin but when alone it has potential to cleave cellular RNA. The biological role of this toxicity is still being studied but we know that VapC toxicity can result in bacterial cell death and bacterial dormancy. Some structures of VapC have been solved to date by other labs in particular, alone or in complex with VapB antitoxin. Our lab is interested in overcoming challenges in expressing and purifying this insoluble cytotoxic protein, with an end goal of determining the structure of VapC bound to cognate RNA. Currently our lab is working with VapC from Mycobacterium tuberculosis as well as a pathogenic strain of Escherichia coli.