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Mol Microbiol. 1997 Dec;26(5):877-87.

The XcpR protein of Pseudomonas aeruginosa dimerizes via its N-terminus.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle 98195, USA.


Extracellular protein secretion by the main terminal branch of the general secretory pathway in Pseudomonas aeruginosa requires a secretion machinery comprising the products of at least 12 genes. One of the components of this machinery, the XcpR protein, belongs to a large family of related proteins distinguished by the presence of a highly conserved nucleotide binding domain (Walker box A). The XcpR protein is essential for the process of extracellular secretion and amino acid substitutions within the Walker A sequence result in inactive XcpR. The same mutations exert a dominant negative effect on protein secretion when expressed in wild-type bacteria. Transdominance of XcpR mutants suggests that this protein is involved in interactions with other components of the secretion machinery or that it functions as a multimer. In this study, the amino-terminal portion of the cl repressor protein of phage lambda was used as a reporter of dimerization in Escherichia coli following fusion to full-length as well as a truncated form of XcpR. The cl-XcpR hybrid proteins were able to dimerize, as demonstrated by the immunity of bacteria expressing them to killing by lambda phage. The full-length XcpR as well as several deletion mutants of XcpR were able to disrupt the dimerization of the chimeric cl-XcpR protein. The disruption of cl-XcpR dimers using the deletion mutants of XcpR, combined with the analysis of their dominant negative effects on protein secretion, was used to map the minimal dimerization domain of XcpR, which is located within an 85 amino acid region in its N-terminal domain. Taken together, the data presented in this paper suggest that the XcpR protein dimerizes via its N-terminus and that this dimerization is essential for extracellular protein secretion.

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