Expression of KdpFABC, a K + pump that restores osmotic balance, is controlled by binding of the response regulator KdpE to a specific DNA sequence (kdpFABC BS) via the winged helix-turn-helix type DNA binding domain (KdpE DBD). Exploration of E. coli KdpE DBD and kdpFABC BS interaction resulted in the identification of two conserved, AT-rich 6 bp direct repeats that form half-sites. Despite binding to these half-sites, KdpE DBD was incapable of promoting gene expression in vivo. Structure-function studies guided by our 2.5 Å X-ray structure of KdpE DBD revealed the importance of residues R193 and R200 in the α-8 DNA recognition helix and T215 in the wing region for DNA binding. Mutation of these residues renders KdpE incapable of inducing expression of the kdpFABC operon. Detailed biophysical analysis of interactions using analytical ultracentrifugation revealed a 2:1 stoichiometry of protein to DNA with dissociation constants of 200±100 and 350±100 nM at half-sites. Inactivation of one half-site does not influence binding at the other, indicating that KdpE DBD binds independently to the half-sites with approximately equal affinity and no discernable cooperativity. To our knowledge, these data are the first to describe in quantitative terms the binding at half-sites under equilibrium conditions for a member of the ubiquitous OmpR/PhoB family of proteins.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences