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Adenylylation of Gyrase and Topo IV by FicT Toxins Disrupts Bacterial DNA Topology

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Patrick Scheu, Professor Kenn Gerdes


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Toxin-antitoxin (TA) modules are ubiquitous molecular switches controlling bacterial growth via the release of toxins that inhibit cell proliferation. Most of these toxins interfere with protein translation, but a growing variety of other mechanisms hints at a diversity that is not yet fully appreciated. Here, we characterize a group of FIC domain proteins as toxins of the conserved and abundant FicTA family of TA modules, and we reveal that they act by suspending control of cellular DNA topology. We show that FicTs are enzymes that adenylylate DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV, the essential bacterial type IIA topoisomerases, at their ATP-binding site. This modification inactivates both targets by blocking their ATPase activity, and, consequently, causes reversible growth arrest due to the knotting, catenation, and relaxation of cellular DNA. Our results give insight into the regulation of DNA topology and highlight the remarkable plasticity of FIC domain proteins.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Harms A, Stanger FV, Scheu PD, de Jong IG, Goepfert A, Glatter T, Gerdes K, Schirmer T, Dehio C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cell Reports

Year: 2015

Volume: 12

Issue: 9

Pages: 1497-1507

Print publication date: 01/09/2015

Online publication date: 20/08/2015

Acceptance date: 27/07/2015

ISSN (electronic): 2211-1247

Publisher: Cell Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.07.056


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Funder referenceFunder name
294517ERC Advanced Investigator Grant PERSIST
3100-138414Swiss National Science Foundation
340330European Research Council (ERC)
3100-132979Swiss National Science Foundation
SCHE1734/1-1Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)