Exosite Modules Guide Substrate Recognition in the ZiPD/ElaC Protein Family
Journal of Biological Chemistry
Escherichia coli ZiPD is the best characterized protein encoded by the elaC gene family and is a model for the 3-pre-tRNA processing endoribonucleases (tRNase Z). A metal ligand-based sequence alignment of ZiPD with metallo-␤-lactamase domain proteins of known crystallographic structure identifies a ZiPD-specific sequence insertion of ϳ50 residues, which we will refer to as the ZiPD exosite. Functionally characterized ZiPD homologs from Bacillus subtilis, Methanococcus janaschii, and human
... the presence of the ZiPD exosite, which is also present in the amino-terminal, but not in the carboxyl-terminal, domain of ElaC2 proteins. Another class of functionally characterized tRNase Z enzymes from Thermotoga maritima and Arabidopsis thaliana lack characteristic motifs in the exosite but possess a sequence segment with clustered basic amino acid residues. As an experimental attempt to investigate the function of the exosite we constructed a ZiPD variant that lacks this module (ZiPD⌬). ZiPD⌬ has almost wild-type-like catalytic properties for hydrolysis of the small, chromogenic substrate bis(p-nitrophenyl)phosphate. Removal of the ZiPD exosite only affects k cat, which is reduced by less than 40%, whereas both K and the Hill coefficient (measures of the substrate affinity and cooperativity, respectively) remain unchanged. Hence, the exosite is not required for the intrinsic phosphodiesterase activity of ZiPD. Removal of the exosite also does not affect the dimerization properties of ZiPD. In contrast to the wild-type enzyme, ZiPD⌬ does not process pre-tRNA, and gel shift assays demonstrate that only the wild-type enzyme, but not ZiPD⌬, binds mature tRNA. These findings show that the exosite is essential for pre-tRNA recognition. In conclusion, we identify a ZiPD exosite that guides physiological substrate recognition in the ZiPD/ElaC protein family.