Many receptors undergo ligand-induced conformational changes to initiate signal transduction. Periplasmic binding proteins (PBPs) are bacterial receptors that exhibit dramatic conformational changes upon ligand binding. These proteins mediate a wide variety of fundamental processes including transport, chemotaxis, and quorum sensing. Despite the importance of these receptors, no PBP antagonists have been identified and characterized. In this study, we identify 3-O-methyl-D-glucose as an antagonist of glucose/galactose-binding protein and demonstrate that it inhibits glucose chemotaxis in E. coli. Using small-angle X-ray scattering and X-ray crystallography, we show that this antagonist acts as a wedge. It prevents the large-scale domain closure that gives rise to the active signaling state. Guided by these results and the structures of open and closed glucose/ galactose-binding protein, we designed and synthesized an antagonist composed of two linked glucose residues. These findings provide a blueprint for the design of new bacterial PBP inhibitors. Given the key role of PBPs in microbial physiology, we anticipate that PBP antagonists will have widespread uses as probes and antimicrobial agents.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine