Genetic analysis, structural modeling, and direct coupling analysis suggest a mechanism for phosphate signaling in Escherichia coli

Stewart G. Gardner, Justin B. Miller, Tanner Dean, Tanner Robinson, McCall Erickson, Perry G. Ridge, William R. McCleary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Proper phosphate signaling is essential for robust growth of Escherichia coli and many other bacteria. The phosphate signal is mediated by a classic two component signal system composed of PhoR and PhoB. The PhoR histidine kinase is responsible for phosphorylating/dephosphorylating the response regulator, PhoB, which controls the expression of genes that aid growth in low phosphate conditions. The mechanism by which PhoR receives a signal of environmental phosphate levels has remained elusive. A transporter complex composed of the PstS, PstC, PstA, and PstB proteins as well as a negative regulator, PhoU, have been implicated in signaling environmental phosphate to PhoR. Results: This work confirms that PhoU and the PstSCAB complex are necessary for proper signaling of high environmental phosphate. Also, we identify residues important in PhoU/PhoR interaction with genetic analysis. Using protein modeling and docking methods, we show an interaction model that points to a potential mechanism for PhoU mediated signaling to PhoR to modify its activity. This model is tested with direct coupling analysis. Conclusions: These bioinformatics tools, in combination with genetic and biochemical analysis, help to identify and test a model for phosphate signaling and may be applicable to several other systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberS2
JournalBMC Genetics
Volume16
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Gardner et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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