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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A conserved domain in Escherichia coli Lon protease is involved in substrate discriminator activity.

Lon protease of Escherichia coli regulates a diverse set of physiological responses including cell division, capsule production, plasmid stability, and phage replication. Little is known about the mechanism of substrate recognition by Lon. To examine the interaction of Lon with two of its substrates, RcsA and SulA, we generated point mutations in lon which affected its substrate specificity. The most informative lon mutant overproduced capsular polysaccharide (RcsA stabilized) yet was resistant to DNA-damaging agents (SulA degraded). Immunoblots revealed that RcsA protein persisted in this mutant whereas SulA protein was rapidly degraded. The mutant contains a single-base change within lon leading to a single amino acid change of glutamate 240 to lysine. E240 is conserved among all Lon isolates and resides in a charged domain that has a high probability of adopting a coiled-coil conformation. This conformation, implicated in mediating protein-protein interactions, appears to confer substrate discriminator activity on Lon. We propose a model suggesting that this coiled-coil domain represents the discriminator site of Lon.[1]


  1. A conserved domain in Escherichia coli Lon protease is involved in substrate discriminator activity. Ebel, W., Skinner, M.M., Dierksen, K.P., Scott, J.M., Trempy, J.E. J. Bacteriol. (1999) [Pubmed]
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