Mechanisms of toxin inhibition and transcriptional repression by Escherichia coli DinJ-YafQ.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Biol Chem, Volume 289, Issue 30, p.20559-69 (2014)


Bacterial Toxins, Crystallography, X-Ray, Escherichia coli, Escherichia coli Proteins, Models, Biological, Protein Multimerization, Protein Structure, Quaternary, Repressor Proteins, Transcription, Genetic


<p>Bacteria encounter environmental stresses that regulate a gene expression program required for adaptation and survival. Here, we report the 1.8-Å crystal structure of the Escherichia coli toxin-antitoxin complex YafQ-(DinJ)2-YafQ, a key component of the stress response. The antitoxin DinJ dimer adopts a ribbon-helix-helix motif required for transcriptional autorepression, and toxin YafQ contains a microbial RNase fold whose proposed active site is concealed by DinJ binding. Contrary to previous reports, our studies indicate that equivalent levels of transcriptional repression occur by direct interaction of either YafQ-(DinJ)2-YafQ or a DinJ dimer at a single inverted repeat of its recognition sequence that overlaps with the -10 promoter region. Surprisingly, multiple YafQ-(DinJ)2-YafQ complexes binding to the operator region do not appear to amplify the extent of repression. Our results suggest an alternative model for transcriptional autorepression that may be novel to DinJ-YafQ.</p>