New Insights into the Interplay Between the Lysine Transporter LysP and the pH Sensor CadC in Escherichia Coli

Journal of Molecular Biology, 2014,, Volume 426, Issue 1, Pages 215–229 published on 09.01.2014
Journal of Molecular Biology, online article
The coordination of signal transduction and substrate transport represents a sophisticated way to integrate information on metabolite fluxes into transcriptional regulation. This widely distributed process involves protein-protein interactions between two integral membrane proteins. Here we report new insights into the molecular mechanism of the regulatory interplay between the lysine-specific permease LysP and the membrane-integrated pH sensor CadC, which together induce lysine-dependent adaptation of E. coli under acidic stress. In vivo analyses revealed that, in the absence of either stimulus, the two proteins form a stable association, which is modulated by lysine and low pH. In addition to its transmembrane helix, the periplasmic domain of CadC also participated in the interaction. Site-directed mutagenesis pinpointed Arg265 and Arg268 in CadC as well as Asp275 and Asp278 in LysP as potential periplasmic interaction sites. Moreover, a systematic analysis of 100 LysP variants with single-site replacements indicated that the lysine signal is transduced from co-sensor to sensor via lysine-dependent conformational changes (upon substrate binding and/or transport) of LysP. Our results suggest a scenario in which CadC is inhibited by LysP via intramembrane and periplasmic contacts under non-inducing conditions. Upon induction, lysine-dependent conformational changes in LysP transduce the lysine signal via a direct conformational coupling to CadC without resolving the interaction completely. Moreover, concomitant pH-dependent protonation of periplasmic amino acids in both proteins dissolves their electrostatic connections resulting in further destabilization of the CadC/LysP interaction.  

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