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Structure of a transiently phosphorylated switch in bacterial signal transduction. Nature 1999 Dec 23-30;402(6764):894-8



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-0033599026   169 Citations


Receiver domains are the dominant molecular switches in bacterial signalling. Although several structures of non-phosphorylated receiver domains have been reported, a detailed structural understanding of the activation arising from phosphorylation has been impeded by the very short half-lives of the aspartylphosphate linkages. Here we present the first structure of a receiver domain in its active state, the phosphorylated receiver domain of the bacterial enhancer-binding protein NtrC (nitrogen regulatory protein C). Nuclear magnetic resonance spectra were taken during steady-state autophosphorylation/dephosphorylation, and three-dimensional spectra from multiple samples were combined. Phosphorylation induces a large conformational change involving a displacement of beta-strands 4 and 5 and alpha-helices 3 and 4 away from the active site, a register shift and an axial rotation in helix 4. This creates an exposed hydrophobic surface that is likely to transmit the signal to the transcriptional activation domain.

Author List

Kern D, Volkman BF, Luginb├╝hl P, Nohaile MJ, Kustu S, Wemmer DE


Brian F. Volkman PhD Professor in the Biochemistry department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Bacterial Proteins
Binding Sites
DNA-Binding Proteins
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Models, Molecular
PII Nitrogen Regulatory Proteins
Protein Conformation
Signal Transduction
Transcription Factors
jenkins-FCD Prod-444 eb4ebd1a08581aba961d3befd3b851a3c3ec6b46