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

The cyanobacterial tandem GAF domains from the cyaB2 adenylyl cyclase signal via both cAMP-binding sites.

The tandem GAF domains from the cyanobacterium Anabaena PCC7120 cyaB2 adenylyl cyclase form an antiparallel dimer with cAMP bound to all four binding sites. cAMP binding causes highly cooperative allosteric enzyme activation (>500-fold; EC(50) = 1 microM; Hill coefficient >2.0). The cyaB2 GAF domains, like those of the cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs), contain conserved NKFDE motifs that when mutated in the PDEs abrogate cyclic nucleotide binding. We mutated the aspartic acids within this motif in cyaB2 to determine which domains were required for signaling. Constructs containing an Asp/Ala mutation in either GAF domain still showed positive cooperative cAMP stimulation but with reduced Hill coefficients. The cyaB2 GAF domain NKFDE motifs contain inserts of 14 (GAF-A) and 19 (GAF-B) amino acids not present in PDE2 or cyaB1. Constructs having these inserts deleted could still be activated by cAMP (23- to 100-fold) but lost all positive cooperative activation, suggesting that the inserts play an important role in domain interaction and/or stabilization of the cAMP-binding pockets. In the shortened constructs, even those with a single Asp/Ala mutation in the NKFDE motifs could still be activated by cAMP. However, in a double Asp/Ala mutant of the shortened construct, stimulation by cAMP was almost completely lost, and the EC(50) shifted far to the right. Overall, the data suggest that in GAF domains without these inserts, only the canonical lysine:aspartate salt bridge keeps the alpha4-helix and the alpha4-beta5 linker that close over the cyclic nucleotide properly oriented, thereby stabilizing the binding pocket. The cyaB2 GAF ensemble appears to be an evolutionary intermediate where both GAF domains still participate in allosteric activation by cAMP.[1]


  1. The cyanobacterial tandem GAF domains from the cyaB2 adenylyl cyclase signal via both cAMP-binding sites. Bruder, S., Linder, J.U., Martinez, S.E., Zheng, N., Beavo, J.A., Schultz, J.E. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2005) [Pubmed]
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