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Helicobacter pylori NikR Protein Exhibits Distinct Conformations When Bound to Different Promoters*

By Erin L. Benanti and Peter T. Chivers


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 (Lys48-Glu47′) 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

Topics: Gene Regulation
Publisher: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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