Kwangwoon Lee

University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California, United States

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Publications (3)12.11 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The histidine kinase, CheA, couples environmental stimuli to changes in bacterial swimming behavior, converting a sensory signal to a chemical signal in the cytosol via autophosphorylation. The kinase activity is regulated in the platform of chemotaxis signaling complexes formed by CheW, chemoreceptors, and the regulatory domain of CheA. Our previous computational and mutational studies have revealed that two interdomain linkers play important roles in CheA's enzymatic activity. Of the two linkers, one that connects the dimerization and ATP-binding domains is essential for both basal autophosphorylation and activation of the kinase. However, the mechanistic role of this linker remains unclear, given that it is far from the autophosphorylation reaction center (the ATP binding site). Here we investigate how this interdomain linker is coupled to CheA's enzymatic activity. Using modern nuclear magnetic resonance techniques, we find that by interacting with the catalytic domain, the interdomain linker initiates long-range structural and dynamic changes directed towards the catalytic center of the autophosphorylation reaction. Subsequent biochemical assays define the functional relevance of these NMR based observations. These findings extend our understanding of the chemotaxis signal transduction pathway.
    Biochemistry 01/2014; · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial chemotaxis is one of the best studied signal transduction pathways. CheW is a scaffold protein that mediates the association of the chemoreceptors and the CheA kinase in a ternary signaling complex. The effects of replacing conserved Arg62 of CheW with other residues suggested that the scaffold protein plays a more complex role than simply binding its partner proteins. Although R62A CheW had essentially the same affinity for chemoreceptors and CheA, cells expressing the mutant protein are impaired in chemotaxis. Using a combination of molecular dynamics simulations (MD), NMR spectroscopy, and circular dichroism (CD), we addressed the role of Arg62. Here we show that Arg62 forms a salt bridge with another highly conserved residue, Glu38. Although this interaction is unimportant for overall protein stability, it is essential to maintain the correct alignment of the chemoreceptor and kinase binding sites of CheW. Computational and experimental data suggest that the role of the salt bridge in maintaining the alignment of the two partner binding sites is fundamental to the function of the signaling complex but not to its assembly. We conclude that a key feature of CheW is to maintain the specific geometry between the two interaction sites required for its function as a scaffold.
    PLoS Computational Biology 11/2013; 9(11):e1003337. · 4.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In bacterial chemotaxis, transmembrane chemoreceptors, the CheA histidine kinase, and the CheW coupling protein assemble into signaling complexes that allow bacteria to modulate their swimming behavior in response to environmental stimuli. Among the protein-protein interactions in the ternary complex, CheA-CheW and CheW-receptor interactions were studied previously, whereas CheA-receptor interaction has been less investigated. Here, we characterize the CheA-receptor interaction in Thermotoga maritima by NMR spectroscopy and validate the identified receptor binding site of CheA in Escherichia coli chemotaxis. We find that CheA interacts with a chemoreceptor in a manner similar to that of CheW, and the receptor binding site of CheA's regulatory domain is homologous to that of CheW. Collectively, the receptor binding sites in the CheA-CheW complex suggest that conformational changes in CheA are required for assembly of the CheA-CheW-receptor ternary complex and CheA activation.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 05/2012; 422(2):282-90. · 3.91 Impact Factor