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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Jan 1;90(1):75-9.

Pivotal role of amino acid at position 138 in the allosteric hinge reorientation of cAMP receptor protein.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


The cAMP receptor protein (CRP) of Escherichia coli needs cAMP for an allosteric change to regulate gene expression by binding to specific DNA sites. The hinge region connecting the DNA-binding domain to the cAMP-binding domain has been proposed to participate in the cAMP-induced allosteric change necessary to adjust C and D alpha-helices for movement of the DNA-binding F alpha-helix away from the protein surface. The role of the hinge region for a conformation change in CRP was tested by studying the effects of single amino acid substitutions at residue 138 located within the hinge. Physiological studies of wild-type and mutant cells and biochemical analysis of purified wild-type and mutant CRP revealed at least three groups of altered CRPs: (i) CRP that behaves like wild type (CRP+); (ii) CRP that binds cAMP but does not complete the structural changes required for specific DNA binding, proteolytic cleavage, and transcription activation (CRPallo); and (iii) CRP that shows some or all of these conformational changes without cAMP (CRP*). These results show a pivotal role of position 138 from which change emanates and provide further evidence that a hinge reorientation involving residue 138 is involved in the interhelical adjustments.

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