Tandem DNA recognition by PhoB, a two-component signal transduction transcriptional activator

Structure. 2002 May;10(5):701-13. doi: 10.1016/s0969-2126(02)00761-x.


PhoB is a signal transduction response regulator that activates nearly 40 genes in phosphate depletion conditions in E. coli and closely related bacteria. The structure of the PhoB effector domain in complex with its target DNA sequence, or pho box, reveals a novel tandem arrangement in which several monomers bind head to tail to successive 11-base pair direct-repeat sequences, coating one face of a smoothly bent double helix. The protein has a winged helix fold in which the DNA recognition elements comprise helix alpha 3, penetrating the major groove, and a beta hairpin wing interacting with a compressed minor groove via Arg219, tightly sandwiched between the DNA sugar backbones. The transactivation loops protrude laterally in an appropriate orientation to interact with the RNA polymerase sigma(70) subunit, which triggers transcription initiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / chemistry
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / chemistry
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Trans-Activators / chemistry*
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • PhoB protein, Bacteria
  • DNA

Associated data

  • PDB/1GXP
  • PDB/1GXQ