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J Bacteriol. 2000 Dec;182(23):6673-8.

Novel role for an HPt domain in stabilizing the phosphorylated state of a response regulator domain.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma 73019, USA.


Two-component regulatory systems that utilize a multistep phosphorelay mechanism often involve a histidine-containing phosphotransfer (HPt) domain. These HPt domains serve an essential role as histidine-phosphorylated protein intermediates during phosphoryl transfer from one response regulator domain to another. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the YPD1 protein facilitates phosphoryl transfer from a hybrid sensor kinase, SLN1, to two distinct response regulator proteins, SSK1 and SKN7. Because the phosphorylation state largely determines the functional state of response regulator proteins, we have carried out a comparative study of the phosphorylated lifetimes of the three response regulator domains associated with SLN1, SSK1, and SKN7 (R1, R2, and R3, respectively). The isolated regulatory domains exhibited phosphorylated lifetimes within the range previously observed for other response regulator domains (i.e., several minutes to several hours). However, in the presence of YPD1, we found that the half-life of phosphorylated SSK1-R2 was dramatically extended (almost 200-fold longer than in the absence of YPD1). This stabilization effect was specific for SSK1-R2 and was not observed for SLN1-R1 or SKN7-R3. Our findings suggest a mechanism by which SSK1 is maintained in its phosphorylated state under normal physiological conditions and demonstrate an unprecedented regulatory role for an HPt domain in a phosphorelay signaling system.

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