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

Cysteine-scanning analysis of the chemoreceptor-coupling domain of the Escherichia coli chemotaxis signaling kinase CheA.

The C-terminal P5 domain of the histidine kinase CheA is essential for coupling CheA autophosphorylation activity to chemoreceptor control through a binding interaction with the CheW protein. To locate P5 determinants critical for CheW binding and chemoreceptor control, we surveyed cysteine replacements at 39 residues predicted to be at or near the P5 surface in Escherichia coli CheA. Two-thirds of the Cys replacement proteins exhibited in vitro defects in CheW binding, either before or after modification with a bulky fluorescein group. The binding-defective sites were widely distributed on the P5 surface and were often interspersed with sites that caused no functional defects, implying that relatively minor structural perturbations, often far from the actual binding site, can influence its conformation or accessibility. The most likely CheW docking area included loop 2 in P5 folding subdomain 1. All but four of the binding-defective P5-Cys proteins were defective in receptor-mediated activation, suggesting that CheW binding, as measured in vitro, is necessary for assembly of ternary signaling complexes and/or subsequent CheA activation. Other Cys sites specifically affected receptor-mediated activation or deactivation of CheA, demonstrating that CheW binding is not sufficient for assembly and/or operation of receptor signaling complexes. Because P5 is quite similar to CheW, whose structure is known to be dynamic, we suggest that conformational flexibility and dynamic motions govern the signaling activities of the P5 domain. In addition, relative movements of the CheA domains may be involved in CheW binding, in ternary complex assembly, and in subsequent stimulus-induced conformational changes in receptor signaling complexes.[1]


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