Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 30850593
Nat Commun 2019 Mar;10(1):1142
FIC proteins regulate molecular processes from bacteria to humans by catalyzing post-translational modifications (PTM), the most frequent being the addition of AMP or AMPylation. In many AMPylating FIC proteins, a structurally conserved glutamate represses AMPylation and, in mammalian FICD, also supports deAMPylation of BiP/GRP78, a key chaperone of the unfolded protein response. Currently, a direct signal regulating these FIC proteins has not been identified. Here, we use X-ray crystallography and in vitro PTM assays to address this question. We discover that Enterococcus faecalis FIC (EfFIC) catalyzes both AMPylation and deAMPylation and that the glutamate implements a multi-position metal switch whereby Mg and Ca control AMPylation and deAMPylation differentially without a conformational change. Remarkably, Ca concentration also tunes deAMPylation of BiP by human FICD. Our results suggest that the conserved glutamate is a signature of AMPylation/deAMPylation FIC bifunctionality and identify metal ions as diffusible signals that regulate such FIC proteins directly.