DnaA protein, the initiator of chromosomal DNA replication in Escherichia coli, seems to be reactivated from the ADP-bound form to its ATP-bound form through stimulation of ADP release by acidic phospholipids such as cardiolipin. We previously reported that two potential amphipathic helixes (Lys-327 to Ile-344 and Asp-357 to Val-374) of DnaA protein are involved in the functional interaction between DnaA and cardiolipin. In relation to one of these helixes (Asp-357 to Val-374), we demonstrated that basic amino acids in the helix, especially Lys-372, are vital for this interaction. In this study, we have identified an amino acid in the second potential amphipathic helix (Lys-327 to Ile-344), which would also appear to be involved in the interaction. We constructed three mutant dnaA genes with a single mutation (dnaAR328E, dnaAR334E, and dnaAR342E) and examined the function of the mutant proteins. DnaAR328E, but not DnaAR334E and DnaAR342E, was found to be more resistant to inhibition of its ATP binding activity by cardiolipin than the wild-type protein. The stimulation of ADP release from DnaAR328E by cardiolipin was also weaker than that observed with the other mutants and the wild-type protein. These results suggest that Arg-328 of DnaA protein is involved in the functional interaction of this protein with acidic phospholipids. We propose that acidic phospholipids bind to two basic amino acid residues (Arg-328 and Lys-372) of DnaA protein and change the higher order structure of its ATP-binding pocket, which in turn stimulates the release of ADP from the protein.
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