National Center for
5FIM: The structure of Kbp.K from E. coli
Structure (2016) 24 p.741-749
Escherichia coli possesses a number of specific K(+) influx and efflux systems that maintain an appropriate intracellular K(+) concentration. Although regulatory mechanisms have been identified for a number of these transport systems, the exact mechanism through which K(+) concentration is sensed in the cell remains unknown. In this work we show that Kbp (K(+) binding protein, formerly YgaU), a soluble 16-kDa cytoplasmic protein from Escherichia coli, is a highly specific K(+) binding protein and is required for normal growth in the presence of high levels of external K(+). Kbp binds a single potassium ion with high specificity over Na(+) and other metal ions found in biological systems, although, in common with K(+) transporters, it also binds Rb(+) and Cs(+). Dissection of the K(+) binding determinants of Kbp suggests a mechanism through which Kbp is able to sense changes in K(+) concentration over the relevant range of intracellular K(+) concentrations.