Evidence for a second regulatory binding site on PspF that is occupied by the C-terminal domain of PspA

authored by
Eyleen Sabine Heidrich, Thomas Brüser

PspA is a key component of the bacterial Psp membrane-stress response system. The biochemical and functional characterization of PspA is impeded by its oligomerization and aggregation properties. It was recently possible to solve the coiled coil structure of a completely soluble PspA fragment, PspA(1–144), that associates with the σ54 enhancer binding protein PspF at its W56-loop and thereby down-regulates the Psp response. We now found that the C-terminal part of PspA, PspA(145–222), also interacts with PspF and inhibits its activity in the absence of full-length PspA. Surprisingly, PspA(145–222) effects changed completely in the presence of full-length PspA, as promoter activity was triggered instead of being inhibited under this condition. PspA(145–222) thus interfered with the inhibitory effect of full-length PspA on PspF, most likely by interacting with full-length PspA that remained bound to PspF. In support of this view, a comprehensive bacterial-2-hybrid screen as well as co-purification analyses indicated a self-interaction of PspA(145–222) and an interaction with full-length PspA. This is the first direct demonstration of PspA/PspA and PspA/PspF interactions in vivo that are mediated by the C-terminus of PspA. The data indicate that regulatory binding sites on PspF do not only exist for the N-terminal coiled coil domain but also for the C-terminal domain of PspA. The inhibition of PspF by PspA-(145–222) was reduced upon membrane stress, whereas the inhibition of PspF by PspA(1–144) did not respond to membrane stress. We therefore propose that the C-terminal domain of PspA is crucial for the regulation of PspF in response to Psp system stimuli.

Institute of Microbiology
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all), Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all), General
Electronic version(s)
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0198564 (Access: Open)