National Center for
1ZPQ: Structure Of Bacteriophage Lambda Cii Protein
Mol. Cell (2005) 19 p.259-269
The tetrameric cII protein from bacteriophage lambda activates transcription from the phage promoters P(RE), P(I), and P(AQ) by binding to two direct repeats that flank the promoter -35 element. Here, we present the X-ray crystal structure of cII alone (2.8 A resolution) and in complex with its DNA operator from P(RE) (1.7 A resolution). The structures provide a basis for modeling of the activation complex with the RNA polymerase holoenzyme, and point to the key role for the RNA polymerase alpha subunit C-terminal domain (alphaCTD) in cII-dependent activation, which forms a bridge of protein/protein interactions between cII and the RNA polymerase sigma subunit. The model makes specific predictions for protein/protein interactions between cII and alphaCTD, and between alphaCTD and sigma, which are supported by previous genetic studies.