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J Biol Chem. 2003 Jan 10;278(2):1174-85. Epub 2002 Oct 30.

Properties and regulation of the bifunctional enzyme HPr kinase/phosphatase in Bacillus subtilis.

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Pharmacologie et Physico-Chimie des Interactions Cellulaires et Moléculaires, UMR CNRS 7034, Université Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg, Faculté de Pharmacie, 74 route du Rhin, B.P. 24, F-67401 Illkirch, France.


The bifunctional allosteric enzyme HPr kinase/phosphatase (HPrK/P) from Bacillus subtilis is a key enzyme in the main mechanism of carbon catabolite repression/activation (i.e. a means for the bacteria to adapt rapidly to environmental changes in carbon sources). In this regulation system, the enzyme can phosphorylate and dephosphorylate two proteins, HPr/HPr(Ser(P)) and Crh/Crh(Ser(P)), sensing the metabolic state of the cell. To acquire further insight into the properties of HPrK/P, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, dynamic light scattering, and BIACORE were used to determine the oligomeric state of the protein under native conditions, revealing that the enzyme exists as a hexamer at pH 6.8 and as a monomer and dimer at pH 9.5. Using an in vitro radioactive assay, the influence of divalent cations, pH, temperature, and different glycolytic intermediates on the activity as well as kinetic parameters were investigated. The presence of divalent cations was found to be essential for both opposing activities of the enzyme. Furthermore, pH values equal to the internal pH of vegetative cells seem to favor the kinase activity, whereas lower pH values increased the phosphatase activity. Among the glycolytic intermediates evaluated, fructose 1,6-diphosphate and fructose 2,6-diphosphate were found to be allosteric activators in the kinase assay, whereas high concentrations inhibited the phosphatase activity, except for fructose 1,6-diphosphate in the case of HPr(Ser(P)). Phosphatase activity was induced by inorganic phosphate as well as acetyl phosphate and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate. Kinetic parameters indicate a preference for binding of HPr compared with Crh to the enzyme and supported a strong positive cooperativity. This work suggests that the oligomeric state of the enzyme is influenced by several effectors and is correlated to the kinase or phosphatase activity. The phosphatase activity is mainly supported by the hexameric form.

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