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J Bacteriol. 1997 Apr;179(7):2181-8.

Characterization of membrane-associated Pseudomonas aeruginosa Ras-like protein Pra, a GTP-binding protein that forms complexes with truncated nucleoside diphosphate kinase and pyruvate kinase to modulate GTP synthesis.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago 60612-7344, USA.


We report the purification and characterization of a protein from the membrane fraction of Pseudomonas aeruginosa showing intrinsic guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) activity. The protein was purified as a 48-kDa polypeptide capable of binding and hydrolyzing GTP. The N-terminal sequence of the purified protein revealed its similarity to the Escherichia coli Ras-like protein (Era), and the protein cross-reacted with anti-Era antibodies. This protein was named Pseudomonas Ras-like protein (Pra). Anti-Pra antibodies also cross-reacted with E. coli Era protein. Pra is autophosphorylated in vitro, with phosphotransfer of the terminal phosphate from [gamma-32P]GTP but not [gamma-32P]ATP. Pra is capable of complex formation with the truncated 12-kDa form of nucleoside diphosphate kinase (Ndk) but not with the 16-kDa form. Purified Pra was also shown to physically interact with pyruvate kinase (Pk); Pk and Pra can form a complex, but when the 12-kDa Ndk, Pk, and Pra are all present, Pk has a higher affinity than Pra for forming a complex with the 12-kDa Ndk. The 12-kDa Ndk-Pra complex catalyzed increased synthesis of GTP and dGTP and diminished synthesis of CTP and UTP or dCTP and dTTP relative to their synthesis by uncomplexed Ndk. Moreover, the complex of Pra with Pk resulted in the specific synthesis of GTP as well when Pra was present in concentrations in excess of that of Pk. Membrane fractions from cells harvested in the mid-log phase demonstrated very little nucleoside triphosphate (NTP)-synthesizing activity and no detectable Ndk. Membranes from cells harvested at late exponential phase showed NTP-synthesizing activity and the physical presence of Ndk but not of Pk or Pra. In contrast, membrane fractions of cells harvested at early to late stationary phase showed predominant GTP synthesis and the presence of increasing amounts of Pk and Pra. It is likely that the association of Pra with Ndk and/or Pk restricts its intrinsic GTPase activity, which may modulate stationary-phase gene expression and the survival of P. aeruginosa by modulating the level of GTP.

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