Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 27208170
Biochem. J. 2016 07;473(14):2239-48
Bacteria use diverse signalling pathways to adapt gene expression to external stimuli. In Gram-negative bacteria, the binding of scarce nutrients to membrane transporters triggers a signalling process that up-regulates the expression of genes of various functions, from uptake of nutrient to production of virulence factors. Although proteins involved in this process have been identified, signal transduction through this family of transporters is not well understood. In the present study, using an integrative approach (EM, SAXS, X-ray crystallography and NMR), we have studied the structure of the haem transporter HasR captured in two stages of the signalling process, i.e. before and after the arrival of signalling activators (haem and its carrier protein). We show for the first time that the HasR domain responsible for signal transfer: (i) is highly flexible in two stages of signalling; (ii) extends into the periplasm at approximately 70-90 Å (1 Å=0.1 nm) from the HasR β-barrel; and (iii) exhibits local conformational changes in response to the arrival of signalling activators. These features would favour the signal transfer from HasR to its cytoplasmic membrane partners.