A Pro to Gly mutation in the hinge of the arabinose-binding protein enhances binding and alters specificity. Sugar-binding and crystallographic studies

J Biol Chem. 1990 Sep 25;265(27):16592-603.


The L-arabinose-binding protein (ABP) of Escherichia coli consists structurally of two distinct globular domains connected by a hinge of three separate peptide segments. Arabinose is bound and completely sequestered within the deep cleft between the two domains. With reduced affinity, ABP also binds D-galactose (approximately 2-fold reduction) and D-fucose (approximately 40-fold reduction). Experiments have been conducted to explore the role in sugar binding of the hinge connecting the two domains of ABP. To increase the flexibility of the hinge region, a glycine was substituted for a proline at position 254 by site-directed mutagenesis. Unexpectedly, this mutation resulted in the dramatic enhancement of galactose binding over that of arabinose. The affinity of the mutant ABP for galactose increased by over 20-fold, while that for arabinose and fucose remained relatively unchanged. We have measured association and dissociation rates of the Gly-254 ABP with L-arabinose, D-galactose, and D-fucose and have determined the crystallographic structure of the protein complexed with each of the three sugars. Both the ligand-binding kinetic measurements and structure analysis indicate that the altered specificity is due to an effective increase in the rigidity of the hinge in the closed conformation which is induced upon galactose binding. Stabilizing contacts are formed between the strands of the hinge in the Gly-254 ABP when galactose is bound which are not found in complexes with the other sugars or the liganded wild-type protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabinose / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Computer Graphics
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Glycine*
  • Kinetics
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation*
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • Proline*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Substrate Specificity


  • AraF protein, E coli
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Ligands
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • Proline
  • Arabinose
  • Glycine