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Structural outline of the detailed mechanism for elongation factor Ts-mediated guanine nucleotide exchange on elongation factor Tu

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Translation elongation factor EF-Tu belongs to the superfamily of guanine-nucleotide binding proteins, which play key cellular roles as regulatory switches. All G-proteins require activation via exchange of GDP for GTP to carry out their respective tasks. Often, guanine-nucleotide exchange factors are essential to this process. During translation, EF-Tu:GTP transports aminoacylated tRNA to the ribosome. GTP is hydrolyzed during this process, and subsequent reactivation of EF-Tu is catalyzed by EF-Ts. The reaction path of guanine-nucleotide exchange is structurally poorly defined for EF-Tu and EF-Ts. We have determined the crystal structures of the following reaction intermediates: two structures of EF-Tu:GDP:EF-Ts (2.2 and 1.8 Å resolution), EF-Tu:PO4:EF-Ts (1.9 Å resolution), EF-Tu:GDPNP:EF-Ts (2.2 Å resolution) and EF-Tu:GDPNP:pulvomycin:Mg(2+):EF-Ts (3.5 Å resolution). These structures provide snapshots throughout the entire exchange reaction and suggest a mechanism for the release of EF-Tu in its GTP conformation. An inferred sequence of events during the exchange reaction is presented.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Pages (from-to)10-21
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2015

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