Arsenic, a toxic metalloid widely existing in the environment, causes a variety of health problems. The ars operon encoded by Escherichia coli plasmid R773 has arsD and arsA genes, where ArsA is an ATPase that is the catalytic subunit of the ArsAB As(III) extrusion pump, and ArsD is an arsenic chaperone for ArsA. ArsD transfers As(III) to ArsA and increases the affinity of ArsA for As(III), allowing resistance to environmental concentrations of arsenic. Cys12, Cys13 and Cys18 in ArsD form a three sulfur-coordinated As(III) binding site that is essential for metallochaperone activity. ATP hydrolysis by ArsA is required for transfer of As(III) from ArsD to ArsA, suggesting that transfer occurs with a conformation of ArsA that transiently forms during the catalytic cycle. The 1.4 Å x-ray crystal structure of ArsD shows a core of four β-strands flanked by four α-helices in a thioredoxin fold. Docking of ArsD with ArsA was modeled in silico. Independently ArsD mutants exhibiting either weaker or stronger interaction with ArsA were selected. The locations of the mutations mapped on the surface of ArsD are consistent with the docking model. The results suggest that the interface with ArsA involves one surface of α1 helix and metalloid binding site of ArsD.
KeywordsArsenic ArsD Metallochaperone ArsA ATP-driven efflux pump
This work was supported by United States Public Health Service Grants AI43428 and GM55425.
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