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

Structure-function relationships in the GTP binding domain of EF-Tu: mutation of Val20, the residue homologous to position 12 in p21.

Val20 of elongation factor Tu ( EF-Tu), one of the best-characterized GTP binding proteins, is a variable residue within the consensus motif G-X-X-X-X-G-K involved in the interaction with the phosphates of GDP/GTP. To investigate the structure-function relationships of EF-Tu, which is widely used as a model protein, Val20 has been substituted by Gly using oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis. The most important effects are: (i) a strong reduction of the intrinsic GTPase activity, (ii) a remarkable enhancement of the association and dissociation rates of EF-TuGly20-GDP, mimicking the effect of elongation factor Ts (EF-Ts) and (iii) the inability of ribosomes to influence the intrinsic GTPase of EF-Tu uncoupled from poly(Phe) synthesis. EF-TuGly20 can sustain poly(Phe) synthesis, albeit at a much lower rate than wild-type EF-TuVal20. As with the latter, poly(Phe) synthesis by EF-TuGly20 is inhibited by the antibiotic kirromycin, but differs remarkably in that it is largely independent of the presence of EF-Ts. According to primary sequence alignment, position 20 is homologous to position 12 of ras protein p21. As in p21, this position in EF-Tu is critical, influencing specifically the GDP/GTP interaction as well as other functions. The effect of the mutation displays diversities but also similarities with the situation reported for p21 having the corresponding residues in position 12. The differences observed with two homologous residues, Gly20 and Gly12 in EF-Tu and p21 respectively, show the importance of a variable residue in a consensus element in defining specific functions of GTP binding proteins.[1]


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