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PLoS Genet. 2013;9(2):e1003304. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003304. Epub 2013 Feb 14.

Identification of the SlmA active site responsible for blocking bacterial cytokinetic ring assembly over the chromosome.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

Bacterial cells use chromosome-associated division inhibitors to help coordinate the processes of DNA replication and segregation with cytokinesis. SlmA from Escherichia coli, a member of the tetracycline repressor (TetR)-like protein family, is one example of this class of regulator. It blocks the assembly of the bacterial cytokinetic ring by interfering with the polymerization of the tubulin-like FtsZ protein in a manner that is dramatically stimulated upon specific DNA binding. Here we used a combination of molecular genetics and biochemistry to identify the active site of SlmA responsible for disrupting FtsZ polymerization. Interestingly, this site maps to a region of SlmA that in the published DNA-free structure is partially occluded by the DNA-binding domains. In this conformation, the SlmA structure resembles the drug/inducer-bound conformers of other TetR-like proteins, which in the absence of inducer require an inward rotation of their DNA-binding domains to bind successive major grooves on operator DNA. Our results are therefore consistent with a model in which DNA-binding activates SlmA by promoting a rotational movement of the DNA-binding domains that fully exposes the FtsZ-binding sites. SlmA may thus represent a special subclass of TetR-like proteins that have adapted conformational changes normally associated with inducer sensing in order to modulate an interaction with a partner protein. In this case, the adaptation ensures that SlmA only blocks cytokinesis in regions of the cell occupied by the origin-proximal portion of the chromosome where SlmA-binding sites are enriched.

PMID:
23459366
PMCID:
PMC3573117
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pgen.1003304
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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