The Doc toxin and Phd antidote proteins of the bacteriophage P1 plasmid addiction system form a heterotrimeric complex

Ehud Gazit, Robert T. Sauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The toxin (Doc) and antidote (Phd) proteins of the plasmid addiction system of bacteriophage P1 were purified as a complex. Cocrystals of the complex contained a 2:1 molar ratio of Phd:Doc as assayed by dye binding following SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and as determined by amino acid analysis. Gel filtration and analytical ultracentrifugation revealed that the two addiction proteins interact in solution to form a P2D trimer composed of one Doc and two Phd molecules. These results support a model in which Phd inhibits the toxic activity of Doc by direct binding. Circular dichroism experiments showed that changes in secondary structure accompany formation of the heterotrimeric complex, raising the possibility that Phd may act by an allosteric mechanism. Studies of Phd and Doc molecules labeled with fluorescent energy donor and acceptor groups gave an equilibrium dissociation constant of about 0.8 μM2 and a very short, sub second half-life of complex dissociation. As a consequence, low concentrations of free Doc toxin are likely to be present both transiently and in the steady state in cells containing the Phd antidote, making mechanisms of single-hit Doc toxicity improbable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16813-16818
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume274
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - 11 Jun 1999
Externally publishedYes

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