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J Biol Chem. 2005 Sep 30;280(39):33298-304. Epub 2005 Jul 29.

A feedback-resistant mutant of Bacillus subtilis glutamine synthetase with pleiotropic defects in nitrogen-regulated gene expression.

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Department of Microbiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118-2526, USA.


The Bacillus subtilis TnrA transcription factor regulates gene expression during nitrogen-limited growth. When cells are grown with excess nitrogen, feedback-inhibited glutamine synthetase forms a protein-protein complex with TnrA and prevents TnrA from binding to DNA. A mutation in glutamine synthetase with a phenylalanine replacement at the Ser-186 residue (S186F) was isolated by screening for B. subtilis mutants with constitutive TnrA activity. Although S186F glutamine synthetase has kinetic properties that are similar to the wild-type protein, the S186F enzyme is resistant to feedback inhibition by glutamine and AMP. Ligand binding experiments revealed that the S186F protein had a lower affinity for glutamine and AMP than the wild-type enzyme. S186F glutamine synthetase was defective in its ability to block DNA binding by TnrA in vitro. The properties of the feedback-resistant S186F mutant support the model in which the feedback-inhibited form of glutamine synthetase regulates TnrA activity in vivo.

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