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

Ligand-mediated conformational changes in Trp repressor protein of Escherichia coli probed through limited proteolysis and the use of specific antibodies.

Trp repressor of Escherichia coli K-12 is a dimeric protein (monomer size, 108 amino acids) that acquires high affinity for certain operator targets in double-stranded DNA upon interaction with L-tryptophan. High titer antiserum directed against E. coli Trp repressor protein, elicited in rabbits, was monospecific toward native or denatured Trp repressor. Using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to measure antigen-antibody reaction, we found that the binding of L-tryptophan to Trp repressor was associated with a marked decrease in antibody reactivity that presumably accompanied a conformational change in this protein to a state with strong affinity for trp operator-bearing DNA. We analyzed the pattern of cleavage of Trp repressor by chymotrypsin and trypsin and the effect of L-tryptophan on such hydrolytic cleavages. Chymotrypsin cleaved Trp repressor mainly between residues 71 and 72. In the presence of L-tryptophan this cleavage was slowed. The first-order rate constants for chymotryptic digestion of Trp repressor were 7.6 X 10(-2) and 4.6 X 10(-2) min-1 in the absence and presence of L-tryptophan, respectively. Tryptic digestion was more complex. Initial cleavage of Trp repressor occurred with approximately equal facility between residues 69-70 or 84-85. Subsequent tryptic hydrolyses led eventually to a major core fragment containing the first 54 amino acids of Trp repressor plus four other fragments from the carboxyl-terminal half of the protein. In the presence of L-tryptophan, cleavage by trypsin between residues 54-55 and 84-85 was retarded, even when a previous hydrolytic event elsewhere in the protein had occurred. Tryptophan had essentially no effect on the tryptic hydrolysis of peptide bond 97-98, but accelerated cleavage at peptide bond 69-70. The first-order rate constants for the first tryptic cleavage of Trp receptor were 1.55 X 10(-1) and 1.33 X 10(-1) min-1 in the absence and presence of ligand, respectively. Our results are compatible with a structural model wherein certain amino acid side chains and peptide bonds of Trp repressor (specifically, those of residues 69-85) lie on or near the surface of the protein. This region of Trp repressor has been predicted to contain the operator recognition site. The susceptibility to proteolytic attack of at least four peptide bonds in this area changes when the protein interacts with L-tryptophan.[1]


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