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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Mar 4;100(5):2278-83. Epub 2003 Feb 24.

The ATP hydrolyzing transcription activator phage shock protein F of Escherichia coli: identifying a surface that binds sigma 54.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom.


Members of the protein family called ATPases associated with various cellular activities (AAA(+)) play a crucial role in transforming chemical energy into biological events. AAA(+) proteins are complex molecular machines and typically form ring-shaped oligomeric complexes that are crucial for ATPase activity and mechanism of action. The Escherichia coli transcription activator phage shock protein F (PspF) is an AAA(+) mechanochemical enzyme that functions to sense and relay the energy derived from nucleoside triphosphate hydrolysis to catalyze transcription by the sigma(54)-RNA polymerase. Closed promoter complexes formed by the sigma(54)-RNA polymerase are substrates for the action of PspF. By using a protein fragmentation approach, we identify here at least one sigma(54)-binding surface in the PspF AAA(+) domain. Results suggest that ATP hydrolysis by PspF is coupled to the exposure of at least one sigma(54)-binding surface. This nucleotide hydrolysis-dependent presentation of a substrate binding surface can explain why complexes that form between sigma(54) and PspF are transient and could be part of a mechanism used generally by other AAA(+) proteins to regulate activity.

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