National Center for
2WIU: Mercury-Modified Bacterial Persistence Regulator Hipba
Acta Crystallogr. D Biol. Crystallogr. (2009) 65 p.875-879
Bacterial persistence is the ability of individual cells to randomly enter a period of dormancy during which the cells are protected against antibiotics. In Escherichia coli, persistence is regulated by the activity of a protein kinase HipA and its DNA-binding partner HipB, which is a strong inhibitor of both HipA activity and hip operon transcription. The crystal structure of the HipBA complex was solved by application of the SAD technique to a mercury derivative. In this article, the fortuitous and interesting effect of mercury soaks on the native HipBA crystals is discussed as well as the intriguing tryptophan-binding pocket found on the HipA surface. A HipA-regulation model is also proposed that is consistent with the available structural and biochemical data.