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Biochemistry. 2000 Sep 26;39(38):11640-8.

Differential regulation of opposing RelMtb activities by the aminoacylation state of a tRNA.ribosome.mRNA.RelMtb complex.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Rel(Mtb) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is responsible for the intracellular regulation of (p)ppGpp and the consequent ability of the organism to survive long-term starvation, indicating a possible role in the pathogenesis of tuberculosis. Purified Rel(Mtb) is a dual-function enzyme carrying out ATP: GTP/GDP/ITP 3'-pyrophosphoryltransferase and (p)ppGpp 3'-pyrophosphohydrolase reactions. Here we show that in the absence of biological regulators, Rel(Mtb) simultaneously catalyzes both transferase and hydrolysis at the maximal rate for each reaction, indicating the existence of two distinct active sites. The differential regulation of the opposing activities of Rel(Mtb) is dependent on the ratio of uncharged to charged tRNA and the association of Rel(Mtb) with a complex containing tRNA, ribosomes, and mRNA. A 20-fold increase in the k(cat) and a 4-fold decrease in K(ATP) and K(GTP) from basal levels for transferase activity occur when Rel(Mtb) binds to a complex containing uncharged tRNA, ribosomes, and mRNA (Rel(Mtb) activating complex or RAC). The k(cat) for hydrolysis, however, is reduced 2-fold and K(m) for pppGpp increased 2-fold from basal levels in the presence of the Rel(Mtb) activating complex. The addition of charged tRNA to this complex has the opposite effect by inhibiting transferase activity and activating hydrolysis activity. Differential control of Rel(Mtb) gives the Mtb ribosomal complex a new regulatory role in controlling cellular metabolism in response to stringent growth conditions that may be present in the dormant Mtb lesion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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