In Bacillus subtilis, the trp RNA-binding attenuation protein (TRAP) regulates expression of genes involved in tryptophan metabolism in response to the accumulation of L-tryptophan. Tryptophan-activated TRAP negatively regulates expression by binding to specific mRNA sequences and either promoting transcription termination or blocking translation initiation. Conversely, the accumulation of uncharged tRNATrp induces synthesis of an anti-TRAP protein (AT), which forms a complex with TRAP and inhibits its activity. In this report, we investigate the structural features of TRAP required for AT recognition. A collection of TRAP mutant proteins was examined that were known to be partially or completely defective in tryptophan binding and/or RNA binding. Analyses of AT interactions with these proteins were performed using in vitro transcription termination assays and cross-linking experiments. We observed that TRAP mutant proteins that had lost the ability to bind RNA were no longer recognized by AT. Our findings suggest that AT acts by competing with messenger RNA for the RNA binding domain of TRAP. B. subtilis AT was also shown to interact with TRAP proteins from Bacillus halodurans and Bacillus stearothermophilus, implying that the structural elements required for AT recognition are conserved in the TRAP proteins of these species. Analyses of AT interaction with B. stearothermophilus TRAP at 60 °C demonstrated that AT is active at this elevated temperature.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology