Affordable Access

A small protein-protein interaction domain common to KlcB and global regulators KorA and TrbA of promiscuous IncP plasmids11 Edited by M. Belfort

Journal of Molecular Biology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1006/jmbi.2001.4729
  • Regular Article
  • Biology


Abstract The kor regulon of broad host-range, incompatibility group P (IncP) plasmids uses the KorA, KorB, and KorC repressors to regulate expression of genes for replication, conjugation, segregation, and host range. One operon, kilC, encodes the KorC repressor and two genes of unknown function ( klcA and klcB). The predicted sequences of the 51.1 kDa KlcB protein, the 11.3 kDa KorA repressor, and another small (13.5 kDa) regulatory protein, TrbA, show a highly related 35 amino acid residue segment (V-L-P domain). We found that induction of the klcB gene is toxic to Escherichia coli host cells harboring an IncP plasmid. We confirmed a model in which the V-L-P domain of KlcB interacts directly with the V-L-P domain of KorA to derepress KorA-regulated operons, thereby allowing expression of toxic genes. First, a lacZ reporter fused to the kleA promoter, which is regulated by KorA and KorC, revealed that klcB induction specifically releases KorA-repression but has no effect on KorC repression. Second, induced expression of the V-L-P domains from KorA or KlcB is sufficient to release KorA-repression at the kleA promoter. Third, purified GST-KlcB fusion protein interacts specifically with His-tagged KorA. Fourth, fusion of the V-L-P domains of KorA and TrbA and full-length KlcB polypeptide to the DNA-binding domain of bacteriophage λ repressor leads to the formation of functional, dimeric repressors, and mutations that alter conserved residues of the V-L-P domain adversely affect dimerization. Fifth, crosslinking experiments demonstrated that the V-L-P domain of KorA is able to dimerize in solution and form heterodimers in mixtures with full-length KorA polypeptide. These findings show that the V-L-P domain is a protein-protein interaction module that is likely to be responsible for dimerization of KorA and TrbA, and important for KlcB dimerization. We speculate on the possible significance of KlcB-KorA heterodimers in IncP plasmid maintenance.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.