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J Am Chem Soc. 2011 Jan 26;133(3):424-7. doi: 10.1021/ja109866w. Epub 2010 Dec 16.

Combined use of residual dipolar couplings and solution X-ray scattering to rapidly probe rigid-body conformational transitions in a non-phosphorylatable active-site mutant of the 128 kDa enzyme I dimer.

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Laboratory of Chemical Physics, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-0520, United States.


The first component of the bacterial phosphotransferase system, enzyme I (EI), is a multidomain 128 kDa dimer that undergoes large rigid-body conformational transitions during the course of its catalytic cycle. Here we investigate the solution structure of a non-phosphorylatable active-site mutant in which the active-site histidine is substituted by glutamine. We show that perturbations in the relative orientations and positions of the domains and subdomains can be rapidly and reliably determined by conjoined rigid-body/torsion angle/Cartesian simulated annealing calculations driven by orientational restraints from residual dipolar couplings and shape and translation information afforded by small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering. Although histidine and glutamine are isosteric, the conformational space available to a Gln side chain is larger than that for the imidazole ring of His. An additional hydrogen bond between the side chain of Gln189 located on the EIN(α/β) subdomain and an aspartate (Asp129) on the EIN(α) subdomain results in a small (∼9°) reorientation of the EIN(α) and EIN(α/β) subdomains that is in turn propagated to a larger reorientation (∼26°) of the EIN domain relative to the EIC dimerization domain, illustrating the positional sensitivity of the EIN domain and its constituent subdomains to small structural perturbations.

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