Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biochemistry. 2001 Apr 10;40(14):4261-71.

Structural basis for the functional switch of the E. coli Ada protein.

Author information

Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, 240 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The Escherichia coli protein Ada specifically repairs the S(p) diastereomer of DNA methyl phosphotriesters in DNA by direct and irreversible transfer of the methyl group to its own Cys 69 which is part of a zinc-thiolate center. The methyl transfer converts Ada into a transcriptional activator that binds sequence-specifically to promoter regions of its own gene and other methylation resistance genes. Ada thus acts as a chemosensor to activate repair mechanisms in situations of methylation damage. Here we present a highly refined solution structure of the 10 kDa N-terminal domain, N-Ada10, which reveals structural details of the nonspecific DNA interaction of N-Ada10 during the repair process and provides a basis for understanding the mechanism of the conformational switch triggered by methyl transfer. To further elucidate this, EXAFS (extended X-ray absorption fine structure) and XANES (X-ray absorption near-edge structure) data were acquired, which confirmed that the zinc-thiolate center is maintained when N-Ada is methylated. Thus, ligand exchange is not the mechanism that enhances sequence-specific DNA binding and transcriptional activation upon methylation of N-Ada. The mechanism of the switch was further elucidated by recording NOESY spectra of specifically labeled methylated-Ada/DNA complexes, which showed that the transferred methyl group makes many contacts within N-Ada but none with the DNA. This implies that methylation of N-Ada induces a structural change, which enhances the promoter affinity of a remodeled surface region that does not include the transferred methyl group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for American Chemical Society
    Loading ...
    Support Center