Solution structure of a complex of the histidine autokinase CheA with its substrate CheY.
ABSTRACT: In the bacterial chemotaxis two-component signaling system, the histidine-containing phosphotransfer domain (the "P1" domain) of CheA receives a phosphoryl group from the catalytic domain (P4) of CheA and transfers it to the cognate response regulator (RR) CheY, which is docked by the P2 domain of CheA. Phosphorylated CheY then diffuses into the cytoplasm and interacts with the FliM moiety of the flagellar motors, thereby modulating the direction of flagellar rotation. Structures of various histidine phosphotransfer domains (HPt) complexed with their cognate RR domains have been reported. Unlike the Escherichia coli chemotaxis system, however, these systems lack the additional domains dedicated to binding to the response regulators, and the interaction of an HPt domain with an RR domain in the presence of such a domain has not been examined on a structural basis. In this study, we used modern nuclear magnetic resonance techniques to construct a model for the interaction of the E. coli CheA P1 domain (HPt) and CheY (RR) in the presence of the CheY-binding domain, P2. Our results indicate that the presence of P2 may lead to a slightly different relative orientation of the HPt and RR domains versus those seen in such complex structures previously reported.
Project description:Phosphorylation-based signaling pathways employ dephosphorylation mechanisms for signal termination. Histidine to aspartate phosphosignaling in the two-component system that controls bacterial chemotaxis has been studied extensively. Rhodobacter sphaeroides has a complex chemosensory pathway with multiple homologues of the Escherichia coli chemosensory proteins, although it lacks homologues of known signal-terminating CheY-P phosphatases, such as CheZ, CheC, FliY or CheX. Here, we demonstrate that an unusual CheA homologue, CheA(3), is not only a phosphodonor for the principal CheY protein, CheY(6), but is also is a specific phosphatase for CheY(6)-P. This phosphatase activity accelerates CheY(6)-P dephosphorylation to a rate that is comparable with the measured stimulus response time of approximately 1 s. CheA(3) possesses only two of the five domains found in classical CheAs, the Hpt (P1) and regulatory (P5) domains, which are joined by a 794-amino acid sequence that is required for phosphatase activity. The P1 domain of CheA(3) is phosphorylated by CheA(4), and it subsequently acts as a phosphodonor for the response regulators. A CheA(3) mutant protein without the 794-amino acid region lacked phosphatase activity, retained phosphotransfer function, but did not support chemotaxis, suggesting that the phosphatase activity may be required for chemotaxis. Using a nested deletion approach, we showed that a 200-amino acid segment of CheA(3) is required for phosphatase activity. The phosphatase activity of previously identified nonhybrid histidine protein kinases depends on the dimerization and histidine phosphorylation (DHp) domains. However, CheA(3) lacks a DHp domain, suggesting that its phosphatase mechanism is different from that of other histidine protein kinases.
Project description:The bacterial histidine autokinase CheA contains a histidine phosphotransfer (Hpt) domain that accepts a phosphate from the catalytic domain and donates the phosphate to either target response regulator protein, CheY or CheB. The Hpt domain forms a helix-bundle structure with a conserved four-helix bundle motif and a variable fifth helix. Observation of two nearly equally populated conformations in the crystal structure of a Hpt domain fragment of CheA from Thermotoga maritima containing only the first four helices suggests more mobility in a tightly packed helix bundle structure than previously thought. In order to examine how the structures of Hpt domain homologs may differ from each other particularly in the conformation of the last helix, and whether an alternative conformation exists in the intact Hpt domain in solution, we have solved a high-resolution, solution structure of the CheA Hpt from T. maritima and characterized the backbone dynamics of this protein. The structure contains a four-helix bundle characteristic of histidine phosphotransfer domains. The position and orientation of the fifth helix resembles those in known Hpt domain crystal and solution structures in other histidine kinases. The alternative conformation that was reported in the crystal structure of the CheA Hpt from T. maritima missing the fifth helix is not detected in the solution structure, suggesting a role for the fifth helix in providing stabilizing forces to the overall structure.
Project description:Chemotaxis is an important virulence factor for Helicobacter pylori colonization and infection. The chemotactic system of H. pylori is marked by the presence of multiple response regulators: CheY1, one CheY-like-containing CheA protein (CheAY2), and three CheV proteins. Recent studies have demonstrated that these molecules play unique roles in the chemotactic signal transduction mechanisms of H. pylori. Here we report the crystal structures of BeF(3(-)-activated CheY1 from H. pylori resolved to 2.4 A. Structural comparison of CheY1 with active-site residues of BeF3(-)-bound CheY from Escherichia coli and fluorescence quenching experiments revealed the importance of Thr84 in the phosphotransfer reaction. Complementation assays using various nonchemotactic E. coli mutants and pull-down experiments demonstrated that CheY1 displays differential association with the flagellar motor in E. coli. The structural rearrangement of helix 5 and the C-terminal loop in CheY1 provide a different interaction surface for FliM. On the other hand, interaction of the CheA-P2 domain with CheY1, but not with CheY2/CheV proteins, underlines the preferential recognition of CheY1 by CheA in the phosphotransfer reaction. Our results provide the first structural insight into the features of the H. pylori chemotactic system as a model for Epsilonproteobacteria.
Project description:Two-component signal transduction pathways comprising histidine protein kinases (HPKs) and their response regulators (RRs) are widely used to control bacterial responses to environmental challenges. Some bacteria have over 150 different two-component pathways, and the specificity of the phosphotransfer reactions within these systems is tightly controlled to prevent unwanted crosstalk. One of the best understood two-component signalling pathways is the chemotaxis pathway. Here, we present the 1.40 A crystal structure of the histidine-containing phosphotransfer domain of the chemotaxis HPK, CheA(3), in complex with its cognate RR, CheY(6). A methionine finger on CheY(6) that nestles in a hydrophobic pocket in CheA(3) was shown to be important for the interaction and was found to only occur in the cognate RRs of CheA(3), CheY(6), and CheB(2). Site-directed mutagenesis of this methionine in combination with two adjacent residues abolished binding, as shown by surface plasmon resonance studies, and phosphotransfer from CheA(3)-P to CheY(6). Introduction of this methionine and an adjacent alanine residue into a range of noncognate CheYs, dramatically changed their specificity, allowing protein interaction and rapid phosphotransfer from CheA(3)-P. The structure presented here has allowed us to identify specificity determinants for the CheA-CheY interaction and subsequently to successfully reengineer phosphotransfer signalling. In summary, our results provide valuable insight into how cells mediate specificity in one of the most abundant signalling pathways in biology, two-component signal transduction.
Project description:The crystal structure at 2.0-A resolution of the complex of the Escherichia coli chemotaxis response regulator CheY and the phosphoacceptor-binding domain (P2) of the kinase CheA is presented. The binding interface involves the fourth and fifth helices and fifth beta-strand of CheY and both helices of P2. Surprisingly, the two heterodimers in the asymmetric unit have two different binding modes involving the same interface, suggesting some flexibility in the binding regions. Significant conformational changes have occurred in CheY compared with previously determined unbound structures. The active site of CheY is exposed by the binding of the kinase domain, possibly to enhance phosphotransfer from CheA to CheY. The conformational changes upon complex formation as well as the observation that there are two different binding modes suggest that the plasticity of CheY is an essential feature of response regulator function.
Project description:Transfer of a phosphoryl group from autophosphorylated CheA (P-CheA) to CheY is an important step in the bacterial chemotaxis signal transduction pathway. This reaction involves CheY (i) binding to the P2 domain of P-CheA and then (ii) acquiring the phosphoryl group from the P1 domain. Crystal structures indicated numerous side chain interactions at the CheY-P2 binding interface. To investigate the individual contributions of the P2 side chains involved in these contacts, we analyzed the effects of eight alanine substitution mutations on CheA-CheY binding interactions. An F214A substitution in P2 caused ∼1,000-fold reduction in CheA-CheY binding affinity, while Ala substitutions at other P2 positions had small effects (E171A, E178A, and I216A) or no detectable effects (H181A, D202A, D207A, and C213A) on binding affinity. These results are discussed in relation to previous in silico predictions of hot-spot and anchor positions at the CheA-CheY interface. We also investigated the consequences of these mutations for chemotaxis signal transduction in living cells. CheA(F214A) was defective in mediating localization of CheY-YFP to the large clusters of signaling proteins that form at the poles of Escherichia coli cells, while the other CheA variants did not differ from wild-type (wt) CheA (CheA(wt)) in this regard. In our set of mutants, only CheA(F214A) exhibited a markedly diminished ability to support chemotaxis in motility agar assays. Surprisingly, however, in FRET assays that monitored receptor-regulated production of phospho-CheY, CheA(F214A) (and each of the other Ala substitution mutants) performed just as well as CheA(wt). Overall, our findings indicate that F214 serves as an anchor residue at the CheA-CheY interface and makes an important contribution to the binding energy in vitro and in vivo; however, loss of this contribution does not have a large negative effect on the overall ability of the signaling pathway to modulate P-CheY levels in response to chemoattractants.
Project description:Although interfaces mediating protein-protein interactions are thought to be under strong evolutionary constraints, binding of the chemotaxis histidine kinase CheA to its phosphorylation target CheY suggests otherwise. The structure of Thermotoga maritima CheA domain P2 in complex with CheY reveals a different association than that observed for the same Escherichia coli proteins. Similar regions of CheY bind CheA P2 in the two systems, but the CheA P2 domains differ by an approximately 90 degrees rotation. CheA binds CheY with identical affinity in T. maritima and E. coli at the vastly different temperatures where the respective organisms live. Distinct sets of P2 residues mediate CheY binding in the two complexes; conservation patterns of these residues in CheA and compensations in CheY delineate two families of prokaryotic chemotaxis systems. A protein complex that has the same components and general function in different organisms, but an altered structure, indicates unanticipated complexity in the evolution of protein-protein interactions and cautions against extrapolating structural data from homologs.
Project description:Bacterial chemoreceptors associate with the histidine kinase CheA and coupling protein CheW to form extended membrane arrays that receive and transduce environmental signals. A receptor trimers-of-dimers resides at each vertex of the hexagonal protein lattice. CheA is fully activated and regulated when it is integrated into the receptor assembly. To mimic these states in solution, we have engineered chemoreceptor cytoplasmic kinase-control modules (KCMs) based on the Escherichia coli aspartate receptor Tar that are covalently fused and trimerized by a foldon domain (Tar(FO)). Small-angle X-ray scattering, multi-angle light scattering, and pulsed-dipolar electron spin resonance spectroscopy of spin-labeled proteins indicate that the Tar(FO) modules assemble into homogeneous trimers wherein the protein interaction regions closely associate at the end opposite to the foldon domains. The Tar(FO) variants greatly increase the saturation levels of phosphorylated CheA (CheA-P), indicating that the association with a trimer of receptor dimers changes the fraction of active kinase. However, the rate constants for CheA-P formation with the Tar variants are low compared to those for autophosphorylation by free CheA, and net phosphotransfer from CheA to CheY does not increase commensurately with CheA autophosphorylation. Thus, the Tar variants facilitate slow conversion to an active form of CheA that then undergoes stable autophosphorylation and is capable of subsequent phosphotransfer to CheY. Free CheA is largely incapable of phosphorylation but contains a small active fraction. Addition of Tar(FO) to CheA promotes a planar conformation of the regulatory domains consistent with array models for the assembly state of the ternary complex and different from that observed with a single inhibitory receptor. Introduction of Tar(FO) into E. coli cells activates endogenous CheA to produce increased clockwise flagellar rotation, with the effects increasing in the presence of the chemotaxis methylation system (CheB/CheR). Overall, the Tar(FO) modules demonstrate that trimerized signaling tips self-associate, bind CheA and CheW, and facilitate conversion of CheA to an active conformation.
Project description:The virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and other surface pathogens involves the coordinate expression of a wide range of virulence determinants, including type IV pili. These surface filaments are important for the colonization of host epithelial tissues and mediate bacterial attachment to, and translocation across, surfaces by a process known as twitching motility. This process is controlled in part by a complex signal transduction system whose central component, ChpA, possesses nine potential sites of phosphorylation, including six histidine-containing phosphotransfer (HPt) domains, one serine-containing phosphotransfer domain, one threonine-containing phosphotransfer domain, and one CheY-like receiver domain. Here, using site-directed mutagenesis, we show that normal twitching motility is entirely dependent on the CheY-like receiver domain and partially dependent on two of the HPt domains. Moreover, under different assay conditions, point mutations in several of the phosphotransfer domains of ChpA give rise to unusual "swarming" phenotypes, possibly reflecting more subtle perturbations in the control of P. aeruginosa motility that are not evident from the conventional twitching stab assay. Together, these results suggest that ChpA plays a central role in the complex regulation of type IV pilus-mediated motility in P. aeruginosa.
Project description:Bacteria utilize thermotaxis signal transduction proteins, including CheA, and CheY, to switch the direction of the cell movement. However, the thermally responsive machinery enabling warm-seeking behavior has not been identified. Here we examined the effects of temperature on the structure and dynamics of the full-length CheA and CheY complex, by NMR. Our studies revealed that the CheA-CheY complex exists in equilibrium between multiple states, including one state that is preferable for the autophosphorylation of CheA, and another state that is preferable for the phosphotransfer from CheA to CheY. With increasing temperature, the equilibrium shifts toward the latter state. The temperature-dependent population shift of the dynamic domain arrangement of the CheA-CheY complex induced changes in the concentrations of phosphorylated CheY that are comparable to those induced by chemical attractants or repellents. Therefore, the dynamic domain arrangement of the CheA-CheY complex functions as the primary thermally responsive machinery in warm-seeking behavior.