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Title: Crystal structures of the F and pSLT plasmid TraJ N-terminal regions reveal similar homodimeric PAS folds with functional interchangeability

In the F-family of conjugative plasmids, TraJ is an essential transcriptional activator of the tra operon that encodes most of the proteins required for conjugation. Here we report for the first time the X-ray crystal structures of the TraJ N-terminal regions from the prototypic F plasmid (TraJF11-130) and from the Salmonella virulence plasmid pSLT (TraJpSLT 1-128). Both proteins form similar homodimeric Per-ARNT-Sim (PAS) fold structures. Mutational analysis reveals that the observed dimeric interface is critical for TraJF transcriptional activation, indicating that dimerization of TraJ is required for its in vivo function. An artificial ligand (oxidized dithiothreitol) occupies a cavity in the TraJF dimer interface, while a smaller cavity in corresponding region of the TraJpSLT structure lacks a ligand. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry-electron ionization analysis of dithiothreitol-free TraJF suggests indole may be the natural TraJ ligand; however, disruption of the indole biosynthetic pathway does not affect TraJF function. Heterologous PAS domains from pSLT and R100 TraJ can functionally replace the TraJF PAS domain, suggesting that TraJ allelic specificity is mediated by the region C-terminal to the PAS domain.
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Biochemistry, 53(36):5810-9
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States