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Transition metal ion activation of DNA binding by the diphtheria tox repressor requires the formation of stable homodimers.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
0027-8424
Publisher
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Volume
92
Issue
15
Pages
6803–6807
Identifiers
PMID: 7624323
Source
Medline

Abstract

The diphtheria tox repressor (DtxR) is a transition metal ion-dependent regulatory element that controls the expression of diphtheria toxin and several genes involved in the synthesis of siderophores in Corynebacterium diphtheriae. In the presence of transition metal ions apo-DtxR becomes activated and specifically binds to its target DNA sequences. We demonstrate by glutaraldehyde cross-linking that monomeric apo-DtxR is in weak equilibrium with a dimeric form and that upon addition of activating metal ions to the reaction mixture a dimeric complex is stabilized. Addition of the DNA-binding-defective mutant apo-DtxR(delta 1-47) to apo-DtxR in the absence of transition metal ions inhibits conversion of the apo-repressor to its activated DNA-binding form. We also show that the binding of Ni2+ to both apo-DtxR and apo-DtxR(delta 1-47) is cooperative and that upon ion binding there is a conformational change in the environment of the indole ring moiety of Trp-104. For the wild-type repressor the consequences of this conformational change include a shift in equilibrium toward dimer formation and activation of target DNA binding by the repressor. We conclude that the formation of DtxR homodimers is mediated through a protein-protein interaction domain that is also activated on metal ion binding.

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