ATP Binding to Hemoglobin Response Gene 1 Protein Is Necessary for Regulation of the Mating Type Locus in Candida albicans
HBR1 (hemoglobin response gene 1) is an essential gene in Candida albicans that positively regulates mating type locus MTLα gene expression and thereby regulates cell type-specific developmental genes. Hbr1p contains a phosphate-binding loop (P-loop), a highly conserved motif characteristic of ATP- and GTP-binding proteins. Recombinant Hbr1p was isolated in an oligomeric state that specifically bound ATP with Kd ∼2 μm. ATP but not ADP, AMP, GTP, or dATP specifically protected Hbr1p from proteolysis by trypsin. Site-directed mutagenesis of the highly conserved P-loop lysine (K22Q) and the less conserved glycine (G19S) decreased the binding affinity for soluble ATP and ATP immobilized through its γ-phosphate. ATP bound somewhat more avidly than ATPγS to wild type and mutant Hbr1p. Although Hbr1p exhibits sequence motifs characteristic of adenylate kinases, and adenylate kinase and ATPase activities have been reported for the apparent human ortholog of Hbr1p, assays for adenylate kinase activity, autophosphorylation, and ATPase activity proved negative. Overexpression of wild type but not the mutant forms of Hbr1p restored MTlα2 expression in an HBR1/hbr1 mutant, indicating that ATP binding to the P-loop is necessary for this function of Hbr1p.