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Mol Microbiol. 2002 Aug;45(3):627-35.

Mutations in Bacillus subtilis glutamine synthetase that block its interaction with transcription factor TnrA.

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Department of Microbiology, Boston University School of Medicine, MA 02118, USA.


In Bacillus subtilis, the activity of the nitrogen regulatory factor TnrA is regulated through a protein- protein interaction with glutamine synthetase. During growth with excess nitrogen, the feedback-inhibited form of glutamine synthetase binds to TnrA and blocks DNA binding by TnrA. Missense mutations in glutamine synthetase that constitutively express the TnrA-regulated amtB gene were characterized. Four mutant proteins were purified and shown to be defective in their ability to inhibit the in vitro DNA-binding activity of TnrA. Two of the mutant proteins exhibited enzymatic properties similar to those of wild-type glutamine synthetase. A model of B. subtilis glutamine synthetase was derived from a crystal structure of the Salmonella typhimurium enzyme. Using this model, all the mutated amino acid residues were found to be located close to the glutamate entrance of the active site. These results are consistent with the glutamine synthetase protein playing a direct role in regulating TnrA activity.

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