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J Biol Chem. 2012 May 18;287(21):17408-14. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.357905. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

Regulation of the type IV secretion ATPase TrwD by magnesium: implications for catalytic mechanism of the secretion ATPase superfamily.

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Departamento de Biología Molecular, Universidad de Cantabria (UC) e Instituto de Biomedicina y Biotecnología de Cantabria, IBBTEC (CSIC-UC-IDICAN), 39011 Santander, Spain.


TrwD, the VirB11 homologue in conjugative plasmid R388, is a member of the large secretion ATPase superfamily, which includes ATPases from bacterial type II and type IV secretion systems, type IV pilus, and archaeal flagellae assembly. Based on structural studies of the VirB11 homologues in Helicobacter pylori and Brucella suis and the archaeal type II secretion ATPase GspE, a unified mechanism for the secretion ATPase superfamily has been proposed. Here, we have found that the ATP turnover of TrwD is down-regulated by physiological concentrations of magnesium. This regulation is exerted by increasing the affinity for ADP, hence delaying product release. Circular dichroism and limited proteolysis analysis indicate that magnesium induces conformational changes in the protein that promote a more rigid, but less active, form of the enzyme. The results shown here provide new insights into the catalytic mechanism of the secretion ATPase superfamily.

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