Co(II) and Ni(II) binding of the Escherichia coli transcriptional repressor RcnR orders its N terminus, alters helix dynamics, and reduces DNA affinity.
ABSTRACT: RcnR, a transcriptional regulator in Escherichia coli, derepresses the expression of the export proteins RcnAB upon binding Ni(II) or Co(II). Lack of structural information has precluded elucidation of the allosteric basis for the decreased DNA affinity in RcnR's metal-bound states. Here, using hydrogen-deuterium exchange coupled with MS (HDX-MS), we probed the RcnR structure in the presence of DNA, the cognate metal ions Ni(II) and Co(II), or the noncognate metal ion Zn(II). We found that cognate metal binding altered flexibility from the N terminus through helix 1 and modulated the RcnR-DNA interaction. Apo-RcnR and RcnR-DNA complexes and the Zn(II)-RcnR complex exhibited similar 2H uptake kinetics, with fast-exchanging segments located in the N terminus, in helix 1 (residues 14-24), and at the C terminus. The largest difference in 2H incorporation between apo- and Ni(II)- and Co(II)-bound RcnR was observed in helix 1, which contains the N terminus and His-3, and has been associated with cognate metal binding. 2H uptake in helix 1 was suppressed in the Ni(II)- and Co(II)-bound RcnR complexes, in particular in the peptide corresponding to residues 14-24, containing Arg-14 and Lys-17. Substitution of these two residues drastically affected DNA-binding affinity, resulting in rcnA expression in the absence of metal. Our results suggest that cognate metal binding to RcnR orders its N terminus, decreases helix 1 flexibility, and induces conformational changes that restrict DNA interactions with the positively charged residues Arg-14 and Lys-17. These metal-induced alterations decrease RcnR-DNA binding affinity, leading to rcnAB expression.
Project description:RcnR (resistance to cobalt and nickel regulator) is a 40-kDa homotetrameric protein and metalloregulator that controls the transcription of the Co(II) and Ni(II) exporter, RcnAB, by binding to DNA as an apoprotein and releasing DNA in response to specifically binding Co(II) and Ni(II) ions. Using X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) to examine the structure of metals bound and lacZ reporter assays of the transcription of RcnA in response to metal binding, in WT and mutant proteins, the roles of coordination number, ligand selection, and residues in the N-terminus of the protein were examined as determinants in metal ion recognition. The studies show that the cognate metal ions, Co(II) and Ni(II), which bind in (N/O)(5)S six-coordinate sites, are distinguished from non-cognate metal ions (Cu(I) and Zn(II)), which bind only three protein ligands and one anion from the buffer, by coordination number and ligand selection. Using mutations of residues near the N-terminus, the N-terminal amine is shown to be a ligand of the cognate metal ions that is missing in the complexes with non-cognate metal ions. The side chain of His3 is also shown to play an important role in distinguishing metal ions. The imidazole group is shown to be a ligand in the Co(II) RcnR complex, but not in the Zn(II) complex. Further, His3 does not appear to bind to Ni(II), providing a structural basis for the differential regulation of RcnAB by the two cognate ions. The Zn(II) complexes change coordination number in response to the residue in position three. In H3C-RcnR, the Zn(II) complex is five-coordinate, and in H3E-RcnR the Zn(II) ion is bound to six protein ligands. The metric parameters of this unusual Zn(II) structure resemble those of the WT-Ni(II) complex, and the mutant protein is able to regulate expression of RcnAB in response to binding the non-cognate ion. The results are discussed within a protein allosteric model for gene regulation by metalloregulators.
Project description:The RcnR metalloregulator represses the transcription of the Co(II) and Ni(II) exporter, RcnAB. Previous studies have shown that Co(II) and Ni(II) bind to RcnR in six-coordinate sites, resulting in derepression. Here, the roles of His60, His64, and His67 in specific metal recognition are examined. His60 and His64 correspond to ligands that are important for Cu(I) binding in the homologous Cu(I)-responsive metalloregulator, CsoR. These residues are known to be functionally important in RcnR transcriptional regulation. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) was used to examine the structure of bound cognate and noncognate metal ions, and lacZ reporter assays were used to assess the transcription of rcnA in response to metal binding in the three His ? Cys mutations, H60C, H64C, and H67C. These studies confirm that both Ni(II) and Co(II) use His64 as a ligand. H64C-RcnR is also the only known mutant that retains a Co(II) response while eliminating the response to Ni(II) binding. XAS data indicate that His60 and His67 are potential Co(II) ligands. The effects of the mutations of His60, His64, and His67 on the structures of the noncognate metal ions [Zn(II) and Cu(I)] reveal that these residues have distinctive roles in binding noncognate metals. None of the His ? Cys mutants in RcnR confer any response to Cu(I) binding, including H64C-RcnR, where the ligands involved in Cu(I) binding in CsoR are present. These data indicate that while the secondary, tertiary, and quaternary structures of CsoR and RcnR are quite similar, small changes in primary sequence reveal that the specific mechanisms involved in metal recognition are quite different.
Project description:Escherichia coli RcnR and Mycobacterium tuberculosis CsoR are the founding members of a recently identified, large family of bacterial metal-responsive DNA-binding proteins. RcnR controls the expression of the metal efflux protein RcnA only in response to Ni(II) and Co(II) ions. Here, the interaction of Ni(II) and Co(II) with wild-type and mutant RcnR proteins is examined to understand how these metals function as allosteric effectors. Both metals bind to RcnR with nanomolar affinity and stabilize the protein to denaturation. X-ray absorption and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopies reveal six-coordinate high-spin sites for each metal that contains a thiolate ligand. Experimental data support a tripartite N-terminal coordination motif (NH2-Xaa-NH-His) that is common for both metals. However, the Ni(II)- and Co(II)-RcnR complexes are shown to differ in the remaining coordination environment. Each metal coordinates a conserved Cys ligand but with distinct M-S distances. Co(II)-thiolate coordination has not been observed previously in Ni(II)-/Co(II)-responsive metalloregulators. The ability of RcnR to recruit ligands from the N-terminal region of the protein distinguishes it from CsoR, which uses a lower coordination geometry to bind Cu(I). These studies facilitate comparisons between Ni(II)-RcnR and NikR, the other Ni(II)-responsive transcriptional regulator in E. coli, to provide a better understanding how different nickel levels are sensed in E. coli. The characterization of the Ni(II)- and Co(II)-binding sites in RcnR, in combination with bioinformatics analysis of all RcnR/CsoR family members, identified a four amino acid fingerprint that likely defines ligand-binding specificity, leading to an emerging picture of the similarities and differences between different classes of RcnR/CsoR proteins.
Project description:Escherichia coli RcnR (resistance to cobalt and nickel regulator, EcRcnR) is a metal-responsive repressor of the genes encoding the Ni(II) and Co(II) exporter proteins RcnAB by binding to PRcnAB. The DNA binding affinity is weakened when the cognate ions Ni(II) and Co(II) bind to EcRcnR in a six-coordinate site that features a (N/O)5S ligand donor-atom set in distinct sites: while both metal ions are bound by the N terminus, Cys35, and His64, Co(II) is additionally bound by His3. On the other hand, the noncognate Zn(II) and Cu(I) ions feature a lower coordination number, have a solvent-accessible binding site, and coordinate protein ligands that do not include the N-terminal amine. A molecular model of apo-EcRcnR suggested potential roles for Glu34 and Glu63 in binding Ni(II) and Co(II) to EcRcnR. The roles of Glu34 and Glu63 in metal binding, metal selectivity, and function were therefore investigated using a structure/function approach. X-ray absorption spectroscopy was used to assess the structural changes in the Ni(II), Co(II), and Zn(II) binding sites of Glu ? Ala and Glu ? Cys variants at both positions. The effect of these structural alterations on the regulation of PrcnA by EcRcnR in response to metal binding was explored using LacZ reporter assays. These combined studies indicate that while Glu63 is a ligand for both metal ions, Glu34 is a ligand for Co(II) but possibly not for Ni(II). The Glu34 variants affect the structure of the cognate metal sites, but they have no effect on the transcriptional response. In contrast, the Glu63 variants affect both the structure and transcriptional response, although they do not completely abolish the function of EcRcnR. The structure of the Zn(II) site is not significantly perturbed by any of the glutamic acid variations. The spectroscopic and functional data obtained on the mutants were used to calculate models of the metal-site structures of EcRcnR bound to Ni(II), Co(II), and Zn(II). The results are interpreted in terms of a switch mechanism, in which a subset of the metal-binding ligands is responsible for the allosteric response required for DNA release.
Project description:Bacteria possess transcription factors whose DNA-binding activity is altered upon binding to specific metals, but metal binding is not specific in vitro. Here we show that tight regulation of buffered intracellular metal concentrations is a prerequisite for metal specificity of Zur, ZntR, RcnR and FrmR in Salmonella Typhimurium. In cells, at non-inhibitory elevated concentrations, Zur and ZntR, only respond to Zn(II), RcnR to cobalt and FrmR to formaldehyde. However, in vitro all these sensors bind non-cognate metals, which alters DNA binding. We model the responses of these sensors to intracellular-buffered concentrations of Co(II) and Zn(II) based upon determined abundances, metal affinities and DNA affinities of each apo- and metalated sensor. The cognate sensors are modelled to respond at the lowest concentrations of their cognate metal, explaining specificity. However, other sensors are modelled to respond at concentrations only slightly higher, and cobalt or Zn(II) shock triggers mal-responses that match these predictions. Thus, perfect metal specificity is fine-tuned to a narrow range of buffered intracellular metal concentrations.
Project description:InrS is a Ni(II)-responsive, CsoR/RcnR-like, DNA-binding transcriptional repressor of the nrsD gene, but the Ni(II) co-ordination sphere of InrS is unlike Ni(II)-RcnR. We show that copper and Zn(II) also bind tightly to InrS and in vitro these ions also impair InrS binding to the nrsD operator-promoter. InrS does not respond to Zn(II) (or copper) in vivo after 48?h, when Zn(II) sensor ZiaR responds, but InrS transiently responds (1?h) to both metals. InrS conserves only one (of two) second co-ordination shell residues of CsoR (Glu98 in InrS). The allosteric mechanism of InrS is distinct from Cu(I)-CsoR and conservation of deduced second shell residues better predicts metal specificity than do the metal ligands. The allosteric mechanism of InrS permits greater promiscuity in vitro than CsoR. The factors dictating metal-selectivity in vivo are that KNi(II) and ?G(C)(Ni(II)-InrS·DNA) are sufficiently high, relative to other metal sensors, for InrS to detect Ni(II), while the equivalent parameters for copper may be insufficient for copper-sensing in Synechocystis (at 48?h). InrS K(Zn(II)) (5.6?×?10(-13) ?M) is comparable to the sensory sites of ZiaR (and Zur), but ?G(C)(Zn(II)-InrS·DNA) is less than ?G(C)(Zn(II)-ZiaR·DNA) implying that relative to other sensors, ?G(C)(Zn(II)-Sensor·DNA) rather than K(Zn(II)) determines the final detection threshold for Zn(II).
Project description:FrmR from Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium (a CsoR/RcnR-like transcriptional de-repressor) is shown to repress the frmRA operator-promoter, and repression is alleviated by formaldehyde but not manganese, iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, or Zn(II) within cells. In contrast, repression by a mutant FrmRE64H (which gains an RcnR metal ligand) is alleviated by cobalt and Zn(II). Unexpectedly, FrmR was found to already bind Co(II), Zn(II), and Cu(I), and moreover metals, as well as formaldehyde, trigger an allosteric response that weakens DNA affinity. However, the sensory metal sites of the cells' endogenous metal sensors (RcnR, ZntR, Zur, and CueR) are all tighter than FrmR for their cognate metals. Furthermore, the endogenous metal sensors are shown to out-compete FrmR. The metal-sensing FrmRE64H mutant has tighter metal affinities than FrmR by approximately 1 order of magnitude. Gain of cobalt sensing by FrmRE64H remains enigmatic because the cobalt affinity of FrmRE64H is substantially weaker than that of the endogenous cobalt sensor. Cobalt sensing requires glutathione, which may assist cobalt access, conferring a kinetic advantage. For Zn(II), the metal affinity of FrmRE64H approaches the metal affinities of cognate Zn(II) sensors. Counter-intuitively, the allosteric coupling free energy for Zn(II) is smaller in metal-sensing FrmRE64H compared with nonsensing FrmR. By determining the copies of FrmR and FrmRE64H tetramers per cell, then estimating promoter occupancy as a function of intracellular Zn(II) concentration, we show how a modest tightening of Zn(II) affinity, plus weakened DNA affinity of the apoprotein, conspires to make the relative properties of FrmRE64H (compared with ZntR and Zur) sufficient to sense Zn(II) inside cells.
Project description:CsoR/RcnR transcriptional repressors adopt a disc-shaped, all ?-helical dimer of dimers tetrameric architecture, with a four-helix bundle the key structural feature of the dimer. Individual members of this large family of repressors coordinate Cu(I) or Ni(II)/Co(II) or perform cysteine sulfur chemistry in mitigating the effects of metal or metabolite toxicity, respectively. Here we highlight recent insights into the functional diversity of this fascinating family of repressors.
Project description:Efflux of surplus Ni(II) across the outer and inner membranes of Synechocystis PCC 6803 is mediated by the Nrs system under the control of a sensor of periplasmic Ni(II), NrsS. Here, we show that the product of ORF sll0176, which encodes a CsoR/RcnR-like protein now designated InrS (for internal nickel-responsive sensor), represses nrsD (NrsD is deduced to efflux Ni(II) across the inner membrane) from a cryptic promoter between the final two ORFs in the nrs operon. Transcripts initiated from the newly identified nrsD promoter accumulate in response to nickel or cobalt but not copper, and recombinant InrS forms specific, Ni(II)-inhibited complexes with the nrsD promoter region. Metal-dependent difference spectra of Ni(II)- and Cu(I)-InrS are similar to Cu(I)-sensing CsoR and dissimilar to Ni(II)/Co(II)-sensing RcnR, consistent with factors beyond the primary coordination sphere switching metal selectivity. Competition with chelators mag-fura-2, nitrilotriacetic acid, EDTA, and EGTA estimate K(D) Ni(II) for the tightest site of InrS as 2.05 (±1.5) × 10(-14) m, and weaker K(D) Ni(II) for the cells' metal sensors of other types: Zn(II) co-repressor Zur, Co(II) activator CoaR, and Zn(II) derepressor ZiaR. Ni(II) transfer to InrS occurs upon addition to Ni(II) forms of each other sensor. InrS binds Ni(II) sufficiently tightly to derepress Ni(II) export at concentrations below K(D) Ni(II) of the other sensors.
Project description:Mycobacterium tuberculosis NmtR is a Ni(II)/Co(II)-sensing metalloregulatory protein from the extensively studied ArsR/SmtB family. Two Ni(II) ions bind to the NmtR dimer to form octahedral coordination complexes with the following stepwise binding affinities: K(Ni1) = (1.2 ± 0.1) × 10(10) M(-1), and K(Ni2) = (0.7 ± 0.4) × 10(10) M(-1) (pH 7.0). A glutamine scanning mutagenesis approach reveals that Asp91, His93, His104, and His107, all contained within the C-terminal ?5 helix, and His3 as part of the conserved ?-NH(2)-Gly2-His3-Gly4 motif at the N-terminus make significant contributions to the magnitude of K(Ni). In contrast, substitution of residues from the C-terminal region, His109, Asp114, and His116, previously implicated in Ni(II) binding and metalloregulation in cells, gives rise to wild-type K(Ni) and Ni(II)-dependent allosteric coupling free energies. Interestingly, deletion of residues 112-120 from the C-terminal region (?111 NmtR) reduces the Ni(II) binding stoichiometry to one per dimer and greatly reduces Ni(II) responsiveness. H3Q and ?111 NmtRs also show clear perturbations in the rank order of metal responsiveness to Ni(II), Co(II), and Zn(II) that is distinct from that of wild-type NmtR. (15)N relaxation experiments with apo-NmtR reveal that both N-terminal (residues 2-14) and C- terminal (residues 110-120) regions are unstructured in solution, and this property likely dictates the metal specificity profile characteristic of the Ni(II) sensor NmtR relative to other ArsR family regulators.