The Helicobacter pylori (Hp) Asp-tRNA(Asn)/Glu-tRNA(Gln) amidotransferase (AdT) plays important roles in indirect aminoacylation and translational fidelity. AdT has two active sites, in two separate subunits. Kinetic studies have suggested that interdomain communication occurs between these subunits; however, this mechanism is not well understood. To explore domain-domain communication in AdT, we adapted an assay and optimized it to kinetically characterize the kinase activity of Hp AdT. This assay was applied to the analysis of a series of point mutations at conserved positions throughout the putative AdT ammonia tunnel that connects the two active sites. Several mutations that caused significant decreases in AdTs kinase activity (reduced by 55-75%) were identified. Mutations at Thr149 (37 Å distal to the GatB kinase active site) and Lys89 (located at the interface of GatA and GatB) were detrimental to AdTs kinase activity, suggesting that these mutations have disrupted interdomain communication between the two active sites. Models of wild-type AdT, a valine mutation at Thr149, and an arginine mutation at Lys89 were subjected to molecular dynamics simulations. A comparison of wild-type, T149V, and K89R AdT simulation results unmasks 59 common residues that are likely involved in connecting the two active sites.
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