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Biochimie. 1991 Jul-Aug;73(7-8):1051-9.

Structure-function relationships of elongation factor Tu as studied by mutagenesis.

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Unité SDI n. 61840 du CNRS, Laboratoire de Biochimie, Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France.


We have modified elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu) from Escherichia coli via mutagenesis of its encoding tufA gene to study its function-structure relationships. The isolation of the N-terminal half molecule of EF-Tu (G domain) has facilitated the analysis of the basic EF-Tu activities, since the G domain binds the substrate GTP/GDP, catalyzes the GTP hydrolysis and is not exposed to the allosteric constraints of the intact molecule. So far, the best studied region has been the guanine nucleotide-binding pocket defined by the consensus elements typical for the GTP-binding proteins. In this area most substitutions were carried out in the G domain and were found to influence GTP hydrolysis. In particular, the mutation VG20 (in both G domain and EF-Tu) decreases this activity and enhances the GDP to GTP exchange; PT82 induces autophosphorylation of Thr82 and HG84 strongly affects the GTPase without altering the interaction with the substrate. SD173, a residue interacting with (O)6 of the guanine, abolishes the GTP and GDP binding activity. Substitution of residues Gln114 and Glu117, located in the proximity of the GTP binding pocket, influences respectively the GTPase and the stability of the G domain, whereas the double replacement VD88/LK121, located on alpha-helices bordering the GTP-binding pocket, moderately reduces the stability of the G domain without greatly affecting GTPase and interaction with GTP(GDP). Concerning the effect of ligands, EF-TuVG20 supports a lower poly(Phe) synthesis but is more accurate than wild-type EF-Tu, probably due to a longer pausing on the ribosome.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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