Transmembrane Prolines Mediate Signal Sensing and Decoding in Bacillus subtilis DesK Histidine Kinase

Pilar Fernández, Lucía Porrini, Daniela Albanesi, Luciano A. Abriata, Matteo Dal Peraro, Diego de Mendoza, María C. Mansilla, Pascale F. Cossart
2019 mBio  
Environmental awareness is an essential attribute of all organisms. The homeoviscous adaptation system of provides a powerful experimental model for the investigation of stimulus detection and signaling mechanisms at the molecular level. These bacteria sense the order of membrane lipids with the transmembrane (TM) protein DesK, which has an N-terminal sensor domain and an intracellular catalytic effector domain. DesK exhibits autokinase activity as well as phosphotransferase and phosphatase
more » ... and phosphatase activities toward a cognate response regulator, DesR, that controls the expression of an enzyme that remodels membrane fluidity when the temperature drops below ∼30°C. Membrane fluidity signals are transmitted from the DesK sensor domain to the effector domain via rotational movements of a connecting 2-helix coiled coil (2-HCC). Previous molecular dynamic simulations suggested important roles for TM prolines in transducing the initial signals of membrane fluidity status to the 2-HCC. Here, we report that individual replacement of prolines in DesKs TM1 and TM5 helices by alanine (DesKPA) locked DesK in a phosphatase-ON state, abrogating membrane fluidity responses. An unbiased mutagenic screen identified the L174P replacement in the internal side of the repeated heptad of the 2-HCC structure that alleviated the signaling defects of every transmembrane DesKPA substitution. Moreover, substitutions by proline in other internal positions of the 2-HCC reestablished the kinase-ON state of the DesKPA mutants. These results imply that TM prolines are essential for finely tuned signal generation by the N-terminal sensor helices, facilitating a conformational control by the metastable 2-HCC domain of the DesK signaling state. Signal sensing and transduction is an essential biological process for cell adaptation and survival. Histidine kinases (HK) are the sensory proteins of two-component systems that control many bacterial responses to different stimuli, like environmental changes. Here, we focused on the HK DesK from , a paradigmatic e [...]
doi:10.1128/mbio.02564-19 fatcat:xqaqhcjkincpderje76vw3xdfi