A model-based proposal for the role of UreF as a GTPase-activating protein in the urease active site biosynthesis

Proteins. 2007 Aug 15;68(3):749-61. doi: 10.1002/prot.21472.


UreF is a protein that plays a role in the in vivo urease activation as a chaperone involved in the insertion of two Ni(2+) ions in the apo-urease active site. The molecular details of this process are unknown. In the absence of any molecular information on the UreF protein class, and as a step toward the comprehension of the relationships between UreF function and structure, we applied a structural modeling approach to infer useful biochemical knowledge on Bacillus pasteurii UreF (BpUreF). Similarity searches and multiple alignment of UreF protein sequences indicated that this class of proteins has a low homology with proteins of known structure. Fold recognition methods were therefore used to identify useful protein structural templates to model the structure of BpUreF. In particular, the templates belong to the class of GTPase-activating proteins. Modeling of BpUreF based on these templates was performed using the program MODELLER. The structure validation yielded good statistics, indicating that the model is plausible. This result suggests a role for UreF in urease active site biosynthesis as a regulator of the activity of UreG, a small G protein involved in the in vivo apo-urease activation process and established to catalyze GTP hydrolysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacillus / enzymology
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Binding Sites
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / chemistry
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / metabolism*
  • Hydrolysis
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Folding
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Urease / biosynthesis
  • Urease / chemistry
  • Urease / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • UreF protein, bacteria
  • Urease