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Helicobacter pylori NikR protein exhibits distinct conformations when bound to different promoters.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 03-10-2011
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Helicobacter pylori NikR (HpNikR) is a ribbon-helix-helix (RHH) DNA-binding protein that binds to several different promoter regions. The binding site sequences are not absolutely conserved. The ability of HpNikR to discriminate specific DNA sites resides partly in its nine-amino acid N-terminal arm. Previously, indirect evidence indicated that the arm exists in different conformations when HpNikR is bound to the nixA and ureA promoters. Here, we directly examined HpNikR conformation when it was bound to nixA and ureA DNA fragments by tethering (S)-1{[bis(carboxymethyl)amino]methyl}-2-{4-[(2-bromoacetyl)amino]phenylethyl}(carboxymethyl)amino]acetic acid, iron(III) to different positions in the N-terminal arm and RHH DNA binding domain. Different cleavage patterns at each promoter directly demonstrated that both the RHH domain and the arm adopt different conformations on the nixA and ureA promoters. Additionally, the two RHH domain dimers of the HpNikR tetramer are in distinct conformations at ureA. Site-directed mutagenesis identified an interchain salt bridge (Lys(48)-Glu(47)) in the RHH domain remote from the DNA binding interface that is required for high affinity binding to ureA but not nixA. Finally, DNA affinity measurements of wild-type HpNikR and a salt bridge mutant (K48A) to hybrid nixA-ureA promoters demonstrated that inverted repeat half-sites, spacers, and flanking DNA are all required for sequence-specific DNA binding by HpNikR. Notably, the spacer region made the largest contribution to DNA affinity. HpNikR exhibits a substantially expanded regulon compared with other NikR proteins. The results presented here provide a molecular basis for understanding regulatory network expansion by NikR as well as other prokaryotic regulatory proteins.
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Point mutations in Helicobacter pyloris fur regulatory gene that alter resistance to metronidazole, a prodrug activated by chemical reduction.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 02-23-2011
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Helicobacter pyloris Fur regulatory protein controls transcription of dozens of genes in response to iron availability, acidity and oxidative stress, and affects the vigor of infection and severity of disease. It is unusual among Fur family proteins in being active both when iron-loaded and iron-free. METHOLODOLGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We tested if H. pylori fur mutations could affect resistance to metronidazole (Mtz), an anti-H. pylori prodrug rendered bactericidal by chemical reduction. Point mutations were made by PCR in DNA containing fur and a downstream chloramphenicol resistance gene, and were placed in the H. pylori chromosome by transformation of a fur-deletion (?fur) strain. Several substitutions affecting H. pylori Furs ?10 residue N terminal arm, which has no counterpart in prototype (E. coli-type) Fur proteins, increased Mtz resistance, as did mutations affecting the region between DNA binding and dimerization domains. Three types of mutations decreased resistance more than did ?fur: substitutions affecting the N-terminal arm; substitutions affecting the metal binding pocket; and nonsense mutations that resulted in a truncated Fur protein with no C-terminal dimerization domain. Most metal binding pocket mutations were obtained only in fur genes with additional inactivating mutations, and thus seemed deleterious or lethal because they.
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Communication between the zinc and nickel sites in dimeric HypA: metal recognition and pH sensing.
J. Am. Chem. Soc.
PUBLISHED: 07-29-2010
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Helicobacter pylori , a pathogen that colonizes the human stomach, requires the nickel-containing metalloenzymes urease and NiFe-hydrogenase to survive this low pH environment. The maturation of both enzymes depends on the metallochaperone, HypA. HypA contains two metal sites, an intrinsic zinc site and a low-affinity nickel binding site. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) shows that the structure of the intrinsic zinc site of HypA is dynamic and able to sense both nickel loading and pH changes. At pH 6.3, an internal pH that occurs during acid shock, the zinc site undergoes unprecedented ligand substitutions to convert from a Zn(Cys)(4) site to a Zn(His)(2)(Cys)(2) site. NMR spectroscopy shows that binding of Ni(II) to HypA results in paramagnetic broadening of resonances near the N-terminus. NOEs between the beta-CH(2) protons of Zn cysteinyl ligands are consistent with a strand-swapped HypA dimer. Addition of nickel causes resonances from the zinc binding motif and other regions to double, indicating more than one conformation can exist in solution. Although the structure of the high-spin, 5-6 coordinate Ni(II) site is relatively unaffected by pH, the nickel binding stoichiometry is decreased from one per monomer to one per dimer at pH = 6.3. Mutation of any cysteine residue in the zinc binding motif results in a zinc site structure similar to that found for holo-WT-HypA at low pH and is unperturbed by the addition of nickel. Mutation of the histidines that flank the CXXC motifs results in a zinc site structure that is similar to holo-WT-HypA at neutral pH (Zn(Cys)(4)) and is no longer responsive to nickel binding or pH changes. Using an in vitro urease activity assay, it is shown that the recombinant protein is sufficient for recovery of urease activity in cell lysate from a HypA deletion mutant, and that mutations in the zinc-binding motif result in a decrease in recovered urease activity. The results are interpreted in terms of a model wherein HypA controls the flow of nickel traffic in the cell in response to nickel availability and pH.
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Geobacter uraniireducens NikR displays a DNA binding mode distinct from other members of the NikR family.
J. Bacteriol.
PUBLISHED: 06-25-2010
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NikR is a nickel-responsive ribbon-helix-helix transcription factor present in many bacteria and archaea. The DNA binding properties of Escherichia coli and Helicobacter pylori NikR (factors EcNikR and HpNikR, respectively) have revealed variable features of DNA recognition. EcNikR represses a single operon by binding to a perfect inverted repeat sequence, whereas HpNikR binds to promoters from multiple genes that contain poorly conserved inverted repeats. These differences are due in large part to variations in the amino acid sequences of the DNA-contacting beta-sheets, as well as residues preceding the beta-sheets of these two proteins. We present here evidence of another variation in DNA recognition by the NikR protein from Geobacter uraniireducens (GuNikR). GuNikR has an Arg-Gly-Ser beta-sheet that binds specifically to an inverted repeat sequence distinct from those recognized by Ec- or HpNikR. The N-terminal residues that precede the GuNikR beta-sheet residues are required for high-affinity DNA binding. Mutation of individual arm residues dramatically reduced the affinity of GuNikR for specific DNA. Interestingly, GuNikR tetramers are capable of binding cooperatively to the promoter regions of two different genes, nik(MN)1 and nik(MN)2. Cooperativity was not observed for the closely related G. bemidjiensis NikR, which recognizes the same operator sequence. The cooperative mode of DNA binding displayed by GuNikR could affect the sensitivity of transporter gene expression to changes in intracellular nickel levels.
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Coordinating intracellular nickel-metal-site structure-function relationships and the NikR and RcnR repressors.
Nat Prod Rep
PUBLISHED: 03-05-2010
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Metalloregulator function requires both sensitivity and selectivity to ensure metal-specific activity without interfering with intracellular metal trafficking pathways. Here, we examine the role of metal coordination geometry in the function of NikR and RcnR, two widely conserved nickel-responsive regulators that are both present in E. coli. The available data suggest an emerging trend in which coordination number is linked to metal-binding affinity, and thus regulatory function. The differences in coordination geometry also suggest that the kinetic mechanisms of metal-association and dissociation will contribute to metalloregulator function. We also discuss ways in which the ligand binding properties of metalloregulators may be tuned to alter the regulatory response.
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DNA recognition and wrapping by Escherichia coli RcnR.
J. Mol. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 06-15-2009
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Escherichia coli RcnR is a founding member of a recently discovered large and widespread structural family of bacterial transcription factors that are predicted to respond to a variety of environmental stresses. RcnR directly regulates transcription of the gene encoding the RcnA nickel and cobalt efflux protein by coordination of DNA-binding and metal-binding activities. A crystal structure of a Cu(I)-sensing homolog from Mycobacterium tuberculosis did not reveal how the novel all-alpha-helical fold of this protein family interacts with DNA because it lacks a well-characterized DNA-binding motif. In this study, we investigated the biophysical properties of the RcnR-DNA interaction using isothermal titration calorimetry and footprinting techniques. We found that an RcnR tetramer recognizes a TACT-G(6)-N-AGTA motif, of which there are two in the rcnA-rcnR intergenic region. G-tracts are found in many predicted binding sites of other RcnR/CsoR proteins, and here we show that they endow A-form DNA characteristics to the RcnR operator sites. Interestingly, RcnR also interacts nonspecifically with the approximately 50 base pairs flanking the core binding site, resulting in DNA wrapping and the introduction of a single negative supercoil into plasmid DNA. Comparisons with other RcnR/CsoR proteins reveal likely key differences in DNA binding among members of this family that result from variations in the number and sequence of operator sites.
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An intact urease assembly pathway is required to compete with NikR for nickel ions in Helicobacter pylori.
J. Bacteriol.
PUBLISHED: 01-23-2009
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We examined the effects of urease and hydrogenase assembly gene deletions on NikR activation in H. pylori strains 26695 and G27. The loss of any component of urease assembly increased NikR activity under Ni2+-limiting conditions, as measured by reduced transcript levels and 63Ni accumulation. Additionally, SlyD functioned in urease assembly in strain 26695.
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Effects of select histidine to cysteine mutations on transcriptional regulation by Escherichia coli RcnR.
Biochemistry
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The RcnR metalloregulator represses the transcription of the Co(II) and Ni(II) exporter, RcnAB. Previous studies have shown that Co(II) and Ni(II) bind to RcnR in six-coordinate sites, resulting in derepression. Here, the roles of His60, His64, and His67 in specific metal recognition are examined. His60 and His64 correspond to ligands that are important for Cu(I) binding in the homologous Cu(I)-responsive metalloregulator, CsoR. These residues are known to be functionally important in RcnR transcriptional regulation. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) was used to examine the structure of bound cognate and noncognate metal ions, and lacZ reporter assays were used to assess the transcription of rcnA in response to metal binding in the three His ? Cys mutations, H60C, H64C, and H67C. These studies confirm that both Ni(II) and Co(II) use His64 as a ligand. H64C-RcnR is also the only known mutant that retains a Co(II) response while eliminating the response to Ni(II) binding. XAS data indicate that His60 and His67 are potential Co(II) ligands. The effects of the mutations of His60, His64, and His67 on the structures of the noncognate metal ions [Zn(II) and Cu(I)] reveal that these residues have distinctive roles in binding noncognate metals. None of the His ? Cys mutants in RcnR confer any response to Cu(I) binding, including H64C-RcnR, where the ligands involved in Cu(I) binding in CsoR are present. These data indicate that while the secondary, tertiary, and quaternary structures of CsoR and RcnR are quite similar, small changes in primary sequence reveal that the specific mechanisms involved in metal recognition are quite different.
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Identification of Ni-(L-His)? as a substrate for NikABCDE-dependent nickel uptake in Escherichia coli.
Metallomics
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Nickel is an important cofactor for several microbial enzymes. The ATP-dependent NikABCDE transporter is one of several types of uptake pathways known to be important for nickel acquisition in microbes. The Escherichia coli NikA periplasmic binding protein is structurally homologous to the di- and oligopeptide binding proteins, DppA and OppA. This structural similarity raises interesting questions regarding the evolutionary relationships between the recognition of nickel ions and short peptides. We find that in defined minimal growth medium NikABCDE transports nickel ions in the presence of exogenously added L-histidine (L-His), but not D-histidine. Both nickel uptake in cells and nickel binding to purified NikA showed an L-His concentration dependence consistent with recognition of a Ni-(L-His)? complex. This discovery reveals parallels to the transport of other metal complexes, notably iron, and suggests the structural diversity of nickel transporters may arise from the need to recognize extracellular nickel complexed with different organic ligands, whether they be exogenously or endogenously produced. Further, these results suggest that experiments examining the physiology and ecology of nickel-requiring microbes should account for the possibility that the growth medium may not support nickel uptake.
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Role of the N-terminus in determining metal-specific responses in the E. coli Ni- and Co-responsive metalloregulator, RcnR.
J. Am. Chem. Soc.
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RcnR (resistance to cobalt and nickel regulator) is a 40-kDa homotetrameric protein and metalloregulator that controls the transcription of the Co(II) and Ni(II) exporter, RcnAB, by binding to DNA as an apoprotein and releasing DNA in response to specifically binding Co(II) and Ni(II) ions. Using X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) to examine the structure of metals bound and lacZ reporter assays of the transcription of RcnA in response to metal binding, in WT and mutant proteins, the roles of coordination number, ligand selection, and residues in the N-terminus of the protein were examined as determinants in metal ion recognition. The studies show that the cognate metal ions, Co(II) and Ni(II), which bind in (N/O)(5)S six-coordinate sites, are distinguished from non-cognate metal ions (Cu(I) and Zn(II)), which bind only three protein ligands and one anion from the buffer, by coordination number and ligand selection. Using mutations of residues near the N-terminus, the N-terminal amine is shown to be a ligand of the cognate metal ions that is missing in the complexes with non-cognate metal ions. The side chain of His3 is also shown to play an important role in distinguishing metal ions. The imidazole group is shown to be a ligand in the Co(II) RcnR complex, but not in the Zn(II) complex. Further, His3 does not appear to bind to Ni(II), providing a structural basis for the differential regulation of RcnAB by the two cognate ions. The Zn(II) complexes change coordination number in response to the residue in position three. In H3C-RcnR, the Zn(II) complex is five-coordinate, and in H3E-RcnR the Zn(II) ion is bound to six protein ligands. The metric parameters of this unusual Zn(II) structure resemble those of the WT-Ni(II) complex, and the mutant protein is able to regulate expression of RcnAB in response to binding the non-cognate ion. The results are discussed within a protein allosteric model for gene regulation by metalloregulators.
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