The LA Loop as an Important Regulatory Element of the HtrA (DegP) Protease from Escherichia coli; Structural and Functional Studies [Enzymology]

April 15th, 2014 by Figaj, D., Gieldon, A., Polit, A., Sobiecka-Szkatula, A., Koper, T., Denkiewicz, M., Banecki, B., Lesner, A., Ciarkowski, J., Lipinska, B., Skorko-Glonek, J.

Bacterial HtrAs are serine proteases engaged in extracytoplasmic protein quality control, and are required for the virulence of several pathogenic species. The proteolytic activity of HtrA (DegP) from Escherichia coli, a model prokaryotic HtrA, is stimulated by stressful conditions; the regulation of this process is mediated by the LA, LD, L1, L2, and L3 loops. The precise mechanism of action of the LA loop is not known due to a lack of data concerning its three-dimensional structure, as well as its mode of interaction with other regulatory elements. To address these issues, we generated a theoretical model of the 3D-structure of the LA loop, as per the resting state of HtrA, and subsequently verified its correctness experimentally. We identified intra- and inter-subunit contacts that formed with the LA loops; these played an important role in maintaining HtrA in its inactive conformation. The most significant proved to be the hydrophobic interactions connecting the LA loops of the hexamer, and polar contacts between the LA' (the LA loop on an opposite subunit) and L1 loops on opposite subunits. Disturbance of these interactions caused the stimulation of HtrA's proteolytic activity. We also demonstrated that LA loops contribute to the preservation of the integrity of the HtrA oligomer and to the stability of the monomer. The model presented in this work explains the regulatory role of the LA loop well; it should also be applicable to numerous Enterobacteriaceae pathogenic species, since the amino acid sequences of the members of this bacterial family are highly conserved.
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