Identification of the magnesium-binding domain of the high-affinity ATP-binding site of the Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli SecA protein

van der Wolk, J.P.; Klose, M.; de Wit, J.G.; den Blaauwen, T.; Freudl, R.; Driessen, A.J.

Journal of Biological Chemistry 270(32): 18975-18982


ISSN/ISBN: 0021-9258
PMID: 7642557
DOI: 10.1074/jbc.270.32.18975
Accession: 008811073

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The homodimeric SecA protein is the peripheral subunit of the translocase, and couples the hydrolysis of ATP to the translocation of precursor proteins across the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane. The high affinity ATP binding activity of SecA resides in the amino-terminal domain of SecA. This domain contains a tandem repeat of the "so-called" Walker B-motif, hXhhD (Walker, J. E., Saraste, M., Runswick, M. J., and Gay, N. J. (1982) EMBO J. 1, 945-951), that in combination with motif A is responsible for the Mg-2+-phosphate protein interaction. Two aspartate residues at positions 207 and 215 of the Bacillus subtilis SecA, and Asp-217 in the Escherichia coli SecA, that could be Mg-2+ ion ligands, were individually mutated to an asparagine. Mutant SecA proteins were unable to growth-complement an E. coli secA amber mutant strain, and the E. coli SecA mutant interfered with the translocation of precursor proteins in vivo. B. subtilis mutant SecA proteins were expressed to a high level and purified to homogeneity. The high affinity ATP and Mg-2+-ion binding activity was reduced in the Asp-207 mutant, and completely lost in the Asp-215 mutant. Both SecA proteins were defective in lipid-stimulated ATPase activity. Proteolytic studies suggest that the two subunits of the mutated dimeric SecA proteins are present in different conformational states. These data suggest that Asp-207 and Asp-215 are involved in the binding of the Mg-2+-ion when Mg-2+-ATP is bound to SecA, while Asp-207 fulfills an additional catalytic role, possibly in accepting a proton during catalysis.