Structural basis for the differential regulation of DNA by the methionine repressor MetJ.
The Met regulon in Escherichia coli encodes several proteins responsible for the biosynthesis of methionine. Regulation of the expression of most of these proteins is governed by the methionine repressor protein MetJ and its co-repressor, the methionine derivative S-adenosylmethionine. Genes controlled by MetJ contain from two to five sequential copies of a homologous 8-bp sequence called the metbox. A crystal structure for one of the complexes, the repressor tetramer bound to two metboxes, has been reported (Somers, W. S., and S. E. Phillips (1992) Nature 359, 387-393), but little structural work on the larger assemblies has been done presumably because of the difficulties in crystallization and the variability in the number and sequences of metboxes for the various genes. Small angle neutron scattering was used to study complexes of MetJ and S-adenosylmethionine with double-stranded DNA containing two, three, and five metboxes. Our results demonstrate that the crystal structure of the two-metbox complex is not the native solution conformation of the complex. Instead, the system adopts a less compact conformation in which there is decreased interaction between the adjacent MetJ dimers. Models built of the higher order complexes from the scattering data show that the three-metbox complex is organized much like the two-metbox complex. However, the five-metbox complex differs significantly from the smaller complexes, providing much closer packing of the adjacent MetJ dimers and allowing additional contacts not available in the crystal structure. The results suggest that there is a structural basis for the differences observed in the regulatory effectiveness of MetJ for the various genes of the Met regulon.
Augustus, AM; Reardon, PN; Heller, WT; Spicer, LD
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