Understanding ATP binding to DosS catalytic domain with a short ATP-lid.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


bioRxiv (2023)


<p>DosS is a heme-sensor histidine kinase that responds to redox-active stimuli in mycobacterial environments by triggering dormancy transformation. Sequence comparison of the catalytic ATP-binding (CA) domain of DosS to other well-studied histidine kinases suggests that it possesses a rather short ATP-lid. This feature has been thought to inhibit DosS kinase activity by blocking ATP binding in the absence of interdomain interactions with the dimerization and histidine phospho-transfer (DHp) domain of full-length DosS. Here, we use a combination of computational modeling, structural biology, and biophysical studies to re-examine ATP-binding modalities in DosS&#39;s CA domain. We show that the closed lid conformation observed in protein crystal structures of DosS CA is caused by the presence of a zinc cation in the ATP binding pocket that coordinates with a glutamate residue on the ATP-lid. Furthermore, circular dichroism (CD) studies and comparisons of DosS CA crystal structure with its AlphaFold model and homologous DesK reveal that a key N-box alpha-helix turn of the ATP pocket manifests as a random coil in the zinc-coordinated protein crystal structure. We note that this closed lid conformation and the random-coil transformation of an N-box alpha-helix turn are artifacts arising from the millimolar zinc concentration used in DosS CA crystallization conditions. In contrast, in the absence of zinc, we find that the short ATP-lid of DosS CA has significant conformational flexibility and can bind ATP ( = 53 &plusmn; 13 μM). We conclude that DosS CA is almost always bound to ATP under physiological conditions (1-5 mM ATP, sub-nanomolar free zinc) in the bacterial environment. Our findings elucidate the conformational adaptability of the short ATP-lid, its relevance to ATP binding in DosS CA and provide insights that extends to 2988 homologous bacterial proteins containing such ATP-lids.</p>