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Tet repressor induction by tetracycline: a molecular dynamics, continuum electrostatics, and crystallographic study.

Abstract : The Tet repressor (TetR) mediates the most important mechanism of bacterial resistance against tetracycline (Tc) antibiotics. In the absence of Tc, TetR is tightly bound to its operator DNA; upon binding of Tc with an associated Mg(2+) ion, it dissociates from the DNA, allowing expression of the repressed genes. Its tight control by Tc makes TetR broadly useful in genetic engineering. The Tc binding site is over 20 A from the DNA, so the binding signal must propagate a long distance. We use molecular dynamics simulations and continuum electrostatic calculations to test two models of the allosteric mechanism. We simulate the TetR:DNA complex, the Tc-bound, "induced" TetR, and the transition pathway between them. The simulations support the model inferred previously from the crystal structures and reveal new details. When [Tc:Mg](+) binds, the Mg(2+) ion makes direct and water-mediated interactions with helix 8 of one TetR monomer and helix 6 of the other monomer, and helix 6 is pulled in towards the central core of the structure. Hydrophobic interactions with helix 6 then pull helix 4 in a pendulum motion, with a maximal displacement at its N-terminus: the DNA interface. The crystal structure of an additional TetR reported here corroborates this motion. The N-terminal residue of helix 4, Lys48, is highly conserved in DNA-binding regulatory proteins of the TetR class and makes the largest contribution of any amino acid to the TetR:DNA binding free energy. Thus, the conformational changes lead to a drastic reduction in the TetR:DNA binding affinity, allowing TetR to detach itself from the DNA. Tc plays the role of a specific Mg(2+) carrier, whereas the Mg(2+) ion itself makes key interactions that trigger the allosteric transition in the TetR:Tc complex.
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Contributor : Thomas Simonson <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 1:52:50 PM
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Alexey Aleksandrov, L. Schuldt, Winfried Hinrichs, Thomas Simonson. Tet repressor induction by tetracycline: a molecular dynamics, continuum electrostatics, and crystallographic study.. Journal of Molecular Biology, Elsevier, 2008, 378 (4), pp.898-912. ⟨10.1016/j.jmb.2008.03.022⟩. ⟨hal-00488187⟩



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