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Mol Genet Genomics. 2003 Mar;268(6):761-70. Epub 2003 Jan 31.

The transmembrane domain of the DnaJ-like protein DjlA is a dimerisation domain.

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Institut de Génétique et Microbiologie, UMR CNRS 8621, Bâtiment 400, Université Paris-Sud, 91405 Orsay, France.


DjlA is a bitopic inner membrane protein, which belongs to the DnaJ co-chaperone family in Escherichia coli. Overproduction of DjlA leads to the synthesis of colanic acid, resulting in mucoidy, via the activation of the two-component regulatory system RcsC/B that controls the cps (capsular polysaccharide) operon. This induction requires both the co-chaperone activity of DjlA, in cooperation with DnaK and GrpE, and its unique transmembrane (TM) domain. Here, we show that the TM segment of DjlA acts as a dimerisation domain: when fused to the N-terminal DNA-binding domain of the lambda cI repressor protein, it can substitute for the native C-terminal dimerisation domain of cI, thus generating an active cI repressor. Replacing the TM domain of DjlA by other TM domains, with or without dimerising capacity, revealed that dimerisation is not sufficient for the induction of cps expression, indicating an additional sequence- or structurally specific role for the TM domain. Finally, the conserved glycines present in the TM domain of DjlA are essential for the induction of mucoidy, but not for dimerisation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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