National Center for
3DP8: Structural Characterization Of A Putative Endogenous Metal Chelator In The Periplasmic Nickel Transporter Nika (Nickel Butane-1,2,4- Tricarboxylate Form)
Structural characterization of a putative endogenous metal chelator in the periplasmic nickel transporter NikA
Biochemistry (2008) 47 p.9937-9943
Escherichia coli and related bacteria require nickel for the synthesis of hydrogenases, enzymes involved in hydrogen oxidation and proton reduction. Nickel transport to the cytoplasm depends on five proteins, NikA-E. We have previously reported the three-dimensional structure of the soluble periplasmic nickel transporter NikA in a complex with FeEDTA(H 2O) (-). We have now determined the structure of EDTA-free NikA and have found that it binds a small organic molecule that contributes three ligands to the coordination of a transition metal ion. Unexpectedly, His416, which was far from the metal-binding site in the FeEDTA(H 2O) (-)-NikA complex, becomes the fourth observed ligand to the metal. The best match to the omit map electron density is obtained for butane-1,2,4-tricarboxylate (BTC). Our attempts to obtain a BTC-Ni-NikA complex using apo protein and commercial reagents resulted in nickel-free BTC-NikA. Overall, our results suggest that nickel transport in vivo requires a specific metallophore that may be BTC.