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

Structural basis of lipid biosynthesis regulation in Gram-positive bacteria.

Malonyl-CoA is an essential intermediate in fatty acid synthesis in all living cells. Here we demonstrate a new role for this molecule as a global regulator of lipid homeostasis in Gram-positive bacteria. Using in vitro transcription and binding studies, we demonstrate that malonyl-CoA is a direct and specific inducer of Bacillus subtilis FapR, a conserved transcriptional repressor that regulates the expression of several genes involved in bacterial fatty acid and phospholipid synthesis. The crystal structure of the effector-binding domain of FapR reveals a homodimeric protein with a thioesterase-like 'hot-dog' fold. Binding of malonyl-CoA promotes a disorder-to-order transition, which transforms an open ligand-binding groove into a long tunnel occupied by the effector molecule in the complex. This ligand-induced modification propagates to the helix-turn-helix motifs, impairing their productive association for DNA binding. Structure-based mutations that disrupt the FapR-malonyl-CoA interaction prevent DNA-binding regulation and result in a lethal phenotype in B. subtilis, suggesting this homeostatic signaling pathway as a promising target for novel chemotherapeutic agents against Gram-positive pathogens.[1]


  1. Structural basis of lipid biosynthesis regulation in Gram-positive bacteria. Schujman, G.E., Guerin, M., Buschiazzo, A., Schaeffer, F., Llarrull, L.I., Reh, G., Vila, A.J., Alzari, P.M., de Mendoza, D. EMBO J. (2006) [Pubmed]
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